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Dogs and cats as carriers of parasites

As the frequency of holiday travel increases, so too does the risk of parasite infection. This is brought home inter alia by the dogs and cats that families take with them on holiday.
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The unusually long, hot summer and equally unusually mild winter across virtually the whole of Europe did much to increase the expectations of doctors and vets throughout Europe of an increased risk of parasite infection in 2007. Even the World Health Organisation (WHO) assumes that one of the first effects of global warming will be the global multiplication and spread of parasites and the diseases transmitted by them. These observations were made at an information seminar organized by the German-based firm Bayer Health Care. Whereas blood-sucking parasites were previously regarded merely as annoying, people are now becoming sensitized by increasingly frequent occurrences of tick-borne diseases such as FSME. Ticks are believed to be carriers of a multitude of pathogens, and during blood-sucking over a number of days protozoa, bacteria and viruses can pass via the parasites' saliva into the bloodstream. Prof. Dr. Heinz Mehlhorn, a parasitologist at the University of Düsseldorf, said: "Animals above all are at risk from the increase in parasites." He regards the risk of infection to people living in close proximity to them as very high. "Effective protection for cats and dogs is urgently required throughout Europe," Prof. Dr. Mehlhorn continued. He said that the regular application of repellent ectoparasite control agents considerably reduced pathogen transmission by ticks, flies or fleas, repelling parasites before they could attack.The company Bayer Health Care, based in Germany, researches, develops, manufactures and markets products for improving the health of people and their pets. "In the last few years we have developed treatment options for all important parasites through our research," said Prof. Michael Londershausen, head of R&D at Bayer Health Care. "In addition to the efficacy of the substances, we also focused on ease of application and a high level of safety for the pet owner." Bayer's Animal Health Division produces and markets medicines and care products for dogs, cats and horses, and ticks are a particular target for observation: they are carriers of a large number of bacteria and viruses that enter the bloodstream of humans and animals via the parasite's saliva. As well as their natural "prey" such as rodents and red deer in the wild, ticks increasingly prey on dogs and cats too. These are then afflicted with infectious diseases such as borreliosis, from which humans can also…
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