COLUMBUS, Ohio – If a person suffers from a compromised immune system they might want to be selective about what kind of animal companion they choose, according to a study from Ohio State University

OSU and partner institutions compiled information from more than 500 worldwide studies to make recommendations on how to minimize disease transformation risks.

The review was published April 20 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Study recommendations range from being pickier about what pets to choose to making slight lifestyle changes and keeping the companion animals already in the home.

What diseases can be transmitted?

The researchers list Salmonella, E. coli and roundworms as examples of the 20 different diseases that are commonly passed to humans.

Who is at risk? Infants, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with limited immune function, they say, are most at risk for animal-borne, or zoonotic, diseases.

Pets regularly shed disease-causing organisms, they said, such as in their feces, saliva or dander.

Better communication between patients and their family doctors also needs to be established so that GPs have an idea what pathogens the patient may be exposed to daily.

Establishing good hygiene is essential in avoiding pathogens, but there are other precautions as well.

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