J Antimicrob Chemother. 2021 Apr 17:dkab058. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkab058. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: MDR organisms (MDROs) pose a relevant risk for patients in modern healthcare. Although ownership of pet animals is common and owners and pets commonly live in close contact, it is still unclear whether pet ownership may be considered as a risk factor for MDRO acquisition prior to hospitalization.
METHODS: We performed three separate meta-analyses in accordance with the PRISMA guidelines, assessing contact to pets as a risk factor for acquisition of MRSA, VRE and MDR Gram-negatives [namely third-generation cephalosporin-resistant Enterobacterales (3GCRE) and carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales (CRE)].
RESULTS: We calculated an increased risk of MRSA carriage for dog owners [risk ratio (RR) 2.28, 95% CI 1.47-3.56]. Meta-analysis did not show a significantly higher risk for 3GCRE colonization among owners of different pet species compared with non-pet owners (RR 1.18, 95% CI 0.83-1.68 for pet owners in general, RR 0.88, 95% CI 0.56-1.40 for dog owners, RR 1.16, 95% CI 0.58-2.34 for cat owners, RR 1.34, 95% CI 0.43-4.18 for rodent owners, RR 0.91, 95% CI 0.38-2.18 for bird owners, and RR 2.34, 95% CI 0.33-16.63 for lizard/frog owners). For VRE, there were insufficient data to perform a meta-analysis.
CONCLUSIONS: Our analyses suggest contact to pet animals is a risk factor for MRSA, but not for 3GCRE/CRE acquisition. Evaluation of the underlying literature suggested a possible role of pet animals as: (i) vectors for the transmission of MDROs between livestock and humans; as well as (ii) a reservoir for MDROs. Pets, therefore, may promote transmission and reinfection of humans.