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Old 03-19-2017, 07:09 PM   #1
Cotton
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Question Hamster To Human Transmitted Diseases

Understandably, thorough hand washing is important after handling hamsters and any type of animal. I was surprised to read, though, that a rodent disease (forgotten the name) can also be transmitted to humans through the respiratory system while cleaning hamsters' droppings. We have to inhale/exhale while cleaning their habitats and children/adults never wear masks while doing it so it can't be common. It sounds like a serious illness. Does anyone know the odds or statistics? I can't find actual numbers. Maybe I have a bigger chance of getting West Nile virus from a mosquito, but I don't stop going out in summer, so then I shouldn't be concerned about this, either.

Last edited by Cotton; 03-19-2017 at 08:07 PM.
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Old 03-19-2017, 07:50 PM   #2
Cotton
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Default Re: Hamster To Human Transmitted Diseases

I couldn't remember the names:

Hantavirus
Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis
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Old 03-19-2017, 08:23 PM   #3
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Default Re: Hamster To Human Transmitted Diseases

Diseases generally don't come from domesticated rats or other captive bred rodents and small pets It is a bit silly to worry about though,considering wild animals and captive animals are extremely different in regards to illness and exposure and even parasitic organisms that they may carry.Of course,there will always be extremists wanting to completely ban small pets(and in some cases pets in general with certain organizations that fool massive amounts of people daily)who will twist things and make it seem like something horrible will definitely happen to those who ever have certain pets.

For example,people in general would panic over the thought of salmonella being transmitted by reptiles so many people refused to own reptiles(ignoring that proper hygiene essentially eliminates the chance!).Or,in the case of rat bite fever people once again jumped to conclusions(most likely with help from the stereotypical filthy sewer rat and such)without understanding the truth about rats.

Regardless,in almost any case you're actually safer handling and keeping the more "exotic" pets(reptiles,small animals including rodents and rabbits,birds,etc)as long as you take responsibility and practice good hygiene compared to owning dogs which are constantly being exposed to various diseases and parasites and other nasty things without anyone thinking about it.Of course,there's also a lot of misunderstanding about raw feeding for carnivorous pets being just as unsafe,but that's a separate issue although yet again lots of assumptions do affect it with little focus on the reality

In the end,people often overthink and oversterilize.This is horrible for the immune system though,but as long as you take standard handwashing and hygiene practices and stick to them you'll be fine
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Old 03-19-2017, 09:12 PM   #4
Cotton
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Default Re: Hamster To Human Transmitted Diseases

Many interesting points there, Amityville. Thank you for such a lengthy response.

Actually, if these diseases were found only in wild animals, I wouldn't have posted the thread here because it would have no relevance. My inquiry was about the risk of air-borne transmission. I know with the second disease on the list, pregnant women are supposed to avoid hamster droppings to reduce risks to a developing fetus. They are also supposed to avoid changing cat litter due to some other risks so animal to human transmission is clearly not unique to rodents.

As for over sterilization, everyone is seeing multiple examples of how dangerous that can be. Again, though, that is usually in reference to anti-bacterial wipes, soaps and hand sanitizer; not air borne inhalants.
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Old 03-19-2017, 09:47 PM   #5
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Default Re: Hamster To Human Transmitted Diseases

As long as reasonable precautions are taken to prevent inhalation,it wouldn't be a massive risk.

A very deadly disease is spread by pigeons(through feces,technically spores in feces I believe).However despite being highly dangerous and capable of resulting in death without precautions,it has no impact on whether or not birds(as most can spread it from what I recall,I might be wrong with that though)should be kept in captivity or how "dangerous" they'd be.It comes down to hygiene and safety measures once again,but to be honest most of the practices would be common sense anyways like not inhaling close to feces and avoiding cage cleaning and such while pregnant or with an otherwise compromised immune system.To me,it wouldn't be any different with the addition of this potential risk compared to caring for other pets,but I can see why it would be terrifying for some people.

Honestly with one being supposedly spread through bites I think all the hamster owners here would either have had it by now,so I really doubt it's as common as it sounds.It does seem to me like it could be yet another situation of extreme fear with a reality of minimal likelihood though.
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Old 03-20-2017, 03:13 AM   #6
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Default Re: Hamster To Human Transmitted Diseases

I agree with amity, the chances of actually getting diseases are very slim. However, it is true that there is of course a chance, but it must be understood that we also have a chance of catching disease from dogs/cats and other humans! It is true that you are supposed to avoid owning small pets if you have a compromised immune system by any means, but in all honesty, I think a lot of those articles are innacurate. Unfortunately, a good majority were made by people who have no background in health and are not actual doctors and thus cannot truly be listened to. All in all, as long as you're cautious then there's nothing to worry about. If you were truly worried, you could also get tests run at a vet to ensure your ham doesn't carry any sort of diseases. I think unfortunately we as humans let diease taint the image of such lovely little animals
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Old 03-20-2017, 05:53 AM   #7
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Default Re: Hamster To Human Transmitted Diseases

Anytime there's something in the newspapers/magazines regarding diseases, people go into panic mode. The chance of catching anything is very low. I so agree with Amityville about people over thinking and sterilizing.
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Old 03-20-2017, 01:06 PM   #8
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Default Re: Hamster To Human Transmitted Diseases

If you're very young, very old, pregnant or immuno-compromised, then I would be more careful - but I'd say that about many animals and many situations!

For the rest of us though, standard hygiene is going to be fine. Indeed, there is evidence that children who live on farms - surrounded by animals and muck - are less likely to develop allergies! Are we too clean for our own good? - NHS Choices I'm not advocating living in a hovel, but we do all need at least some exposure to dirt.

Hamster zoonoses are not something to put too high on life's list of dangers IMHO. You're in far more danger every time you drive down the road from texting drivers, drunk drivers, crap drivers, your own crap driving, road conditions, mechanical malfunction etc. etc.

For stats - in the UK (population 64,000,000), between 2005 and 2014 there were a total of 11 cases of hantavirus - about one a year https://www.gov.uk/government/upload...eport-2014.pdf

Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis doesn't get a mention in the above report on zoonoses in the UK (which does rather suggest it's not a noticeable problem), but wikipedia seems to suggest it's only really a significant danger if you have pest rodents running around your pet rodents https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lympho...ngitis_in_pets

You are quite literally more likely to be struck by lightning - on average, 29 people a year are struck by lightning in the UK, with approximately 2 deaths a year https://www.rmets.org/sites/default/...2013-elsom.pdf
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Old 03-21-2017, 03:52 PM   #9
Cotton
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Default Re: Hamster To Human Transmitted Diseases

Thank you, everyone, for your responses.

An extra 'Thank you' to Inkypen for a stat, which was what I requested. I'm a numbers person. When I hear or read dramatic comments, such as the ones that prompted me to start this thread, my first thoughts are, 'What was the source?' and 'What are the odds or statistics?' Thank you, Inkypen, for answering my question.
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