There are so many inaccurate urban legends about pets. This morning a commentary crossed my desk regarding the irresponsible comment that cats cause schizophrenia. Geez.
People still think cats pass toxoplasmoisis when humans are more likely to get it from other sources. The myth means that many household felines still get dumped over the inaccurate assumption that they cause risk to pregnant women and their unborn children. Household pets receive regularly veterinary medical screening and health care–and actually contribute to the physical well-being of humans…as other studies have documented.
Unless a controlled and accurate study is conducted regarding environmental influences, genetic predispositions and other parameters this is a very irresponsible theory to spout. Dr. Torrey has released a new book this year and perhaps this is a good marketing avenue that the media has grasped onto (it was a hot item in 2004 as well).
Humans are exposed to disease on a daily basis. I am more worried about shopping carts at grocery stores where children mouth and drool on the handles than about the transmission of disease by pets. Good hygene is critical to avoid exposure to disease but our immune systems only get stronger by developing resistance and that is certainly not done in a germ free environment.
On that note, I just saw a news story that “chickens are the great new pet.” Hmmm, I find this interesting when the risk of bird flu has been plaguing the newswires for months–expecially since transmission has been mainly connected with poultry. Go figure.
Anyway, contributing to hysteria over the risk of contracting disease from other living beings is a bit much. Zoonosis is a long established concern and nothing new but you might want to take a gander at the new work via the link below called, Beasts Of The Earth: Animals, Humans, And Disease by E. Fuller Torrey and Robert H Yolken.
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