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Zoonoses Associated with Animal Assisted Interventions: An Interdisciplinary Perspective

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Global Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2022) | Viewed by 24922

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Production, Federico II University of Naples, 80137 Naples, Italy
Interests: zoonoses and public health; microbiology; animal assisted interventions; avian pathology; zoonotic risks; songbirds, rabbit and poultry
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Assistant Guest Editor
Department of Translational Medical Sciences, University of Naples Federico II, 80138 Naples, Italy
Interests: metabolism; human health; basic science; environmental pollutants; endocrine disruptor chemicals
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Assistant Guest Editor
School of Veterinary Science, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
Interests: molecular/genomic epidemiology of infectious agents; Staphylococcus aureus; Cryptosporidium; antimicrobial resistance

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are glad to announce the Special Issue “Zoonoses Associated with Animal Assisted Interventions: An Interdisciplinary Perspective”, to be published on IJERPH. Recently, we have witnessed a rapid accumulation of the scientific knowledge in many areas of work within the Animal Assisted Interventions (AAIs). However, the zoonotic risks resulting from the close patient-animal interactions that form the base of such interventions, are still poorly explored. This special issue will address this gap.

Papers highlighting any aspect of infectious (bacterial, viral, or parasitic) and behavioral zoonoses in this field are welcome and will be taken into consideration for the publication. We encourage authors of research or review articles to submit their material to this Special Issue. Papers will be peer-reviewed according to the journal’s criteria and accepted papers will be published in IJERPH as soon as practicable. All the papers will be also listed together as a Special Issue.

Dr. Antonio Santaniello
Dr. Francesco Oriente
Dr. Alex Grinberg
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Animal Assisted Interventions
  • zoonoses
  • one health
  • Human-Animal Interactions
  • pet therapy
  • living organisms and environmental risks

Related Special Issue

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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28 pages, 1549 KiB  
Article
A Pilot Study on the Contamination of Assistance Dogs’ Paws and Their Users’ Shoe Soles in Relation to Admittance to Hospitals and (In)Visible Disability
by S. Jasmijn Vos, Joris J. Wijnker and Paul A. M. Overgaauw
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(2), 513; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18020513 - 10 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 11729
Abstract
(1) Background: People with disabilities may benefit from an assistance dog (AD). Despite regulations that prohibit the denial of ADs to public places, this still occurs on a regular basis. The main argument for denial of access is that dogs compromise hygiene [...] Read more.
(1) Background: People with disabilities may benefit from an assistance dog (AD). Despite regulations that prohibit the denial of ADs to public places, this still occurs on a regular basis. The main argument for denial of access is that dogs compromise hygiene with their presence, which could cause a health hazard. Meanwhile, people are allowed to walk into and out of public places freely. (2) Objective: As a pilot study, to investigate the number of Enterobacteriaceae and the presence of Clostridium difficile bacteria on the paws of ADs and pet dogs (PDs) as well as the shoe soles of their users and owners. With the results, an assessment can be made as to whether measures are required to reduce environmental contamination (e.g., in hospitals). (3) Methods: In total, 25 ADs, 25 PDs, and their 50 users/owners participated in the study. Each participant walked their dog for 15–30 min prior to the sampling of the front paws. Each PD owner or AD user filled out a general questionnaire about the care of their dogs, and AD users were asked to fill out an additional questionnaire on their experiences regarding the admittance of their ADs to public places (in particular, hospitals). Dutch hospitals were questioned on their protocols regarding the admittance of ADs and their visitor numbers, including the percentage of AD users, to put these numbers into perspective. (4) Results: Dog paws were more often negative for Enterobacteriaceae compared to shoe soles (72% and 42%, respectively) and also had significantly lower bacterial counts (mean of 3.54log10 and 5.03log10 colony-forming units (CFUs), respectively; p < 0.05). This was most distinct in the comparison between PDs and their owners (3.75log10 and 5.25log10 CFUs; p < 0.05); the numbers were similar between ADs and their users (3.09log10 and 4.58log10 CFUs; p = 0.2). C. difficile was found on one (4%) AD user’s shoe soles. Moreover, 81% of AD users had been denied access with their current AD once or several times, the main reason being hygiene. The results of the visibly and invisibly disabled were significantly different. The number of AD users as opposed to the total number of hospital visitors was 0.03% in one hospital and is estimated to be 0.02% in the Netherlands. (5) Conclusions: The general hygiene of dogs’ paws is far better than that of shoe soles, mostly demonstrated by the better general hygiene of PD paws compared with their owners’ shoe soles; ADs and their users had comparable levels of general hygiene. In addition, the number of AD users amongst the total number of hospital visitors in the Netherlands is very limited. Thus, hygiene measures to reduce any contamination due to dog paws do not seem necessary. Full article
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11 pages, 1761 KiB  
Article
Surveillance of Zoonotic Parasites in Animals Involved in Animal-Assisted Interventions (AAIs)
by Giulia Simonato, Patrizia Danesi, Antonio Frangipane di Regalbono, Giorgia Dotto, Cinzia Tessarin, Mario Pietrobelli and Daniela Pasotto
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(21), 7914; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17217914 - 28 Oct 2020
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 2429
Abstract
Animal-assisted interventions (AAIs) are based on the establishment of a therapeutic relationship between animals and beneficiaries that is certain to provide positive effects, while currently, it reads as if AAIs aim at exposing stakeholders to potential risk of infection. The surveillance of zoonotic [...] Read more.
Animal-assisted interventions (AAIs) are based on the establishment of a therapeutic relationship between animals and beneficiaries that is certain to provide positive effects, while currently, it reads as if AAIs aim at exposing stakeholders to potential risk of infection. The surveillance of zoonotic pathogens is necessary for guaranteeing common health. This study investigated the presence of potentially zoonotic parasites, including dermatophytes, in animals involved in AAIs. Between 2015 and 2017, 190 animals (equids, dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, rodents, and goats) were investigated. Anamnestic and management data were recorded. Individual faecal samples were analysed using a copromicroscopic procedure. Fur and skin were examined for ectoparasites during clinical examinations, and samples for mycological investigation were collected by brushing. Parasites were described in 60 (31.6%) investigated animals. Thirteen out of the 60 (21.7%) animals harboured potentially zoonotic parasites, mainly recovered in dogs (Ancylostomatidae, Eucoleus aerophilus, Toxocara canis, and Giardia duodenalis) and a cat (G. duodenalis). Nannizzia gypsea and Paraphyton mirabile, potential agents of cutaneous mycosis, were isolated in a dog and a horse, respectively. No ectoparasites were found. AAIs might represent a source of infections either directly or via environmental contamination. Thus, active surveillance is necessary and animal screenings should be planned and scheduled according to the risk of exposure. Full article
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Review

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11 pages, 329 KiB  
Review
Race, Zoonoses and Animal Assisted Interventions in Pediatric Cancer
by Crina Cotoc and Stephen Notaro
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(13), 7772; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19137772 - 24 Jun 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2177
Abstract
Emerging evidence accumulates regarding the benefits of animal-assisted interventions (AAIs) in facilitating pediatric cancer treatment and alleviating symptomatology through positive changes in the patients’ emotional, mental, and even physical status. A major concern expressed by healthcare providers and parents in implementing AAIs in [...] Read more.
Emerging evidence accumulates regarding the benefits of animal-assisted interventions (AAIs) in facilitating pediatric cancer treatment and alleviating symptomatology through positive changes in the patients’ emotional, mental, and even physical status. A major concern expressed by healthcare providers and parents in implementing AAIs in hospital settings is the transmission of disease from animals to patients. Immunocompromised children, such as pediatric cancer patients are at increased risk for pet-associated diseases. Furthermore, existing disparities among the racial and ethnic minority groups of pediatric cancer patients can potentially exacerbate their risk for zoonoses. This literature review highlights the most common human infections from therapy animals, connections to the race and ethnic background of pediatric oncology patients, as well as means of prevention. The discussion is limited to dogs, which are typically the most commonly used species in hospital-based animal-assisted therapy. The aim is to highlight specific preventive measures, precautions and recommendations that must be considered in hospitals’ protocols and best practices, particularly given the plethora of benefits provided by AAI for pediatric cancer patients, staff and families. Full article
10 pages, 503 KiB  
Review
Extended-Spectrum Beta-Lactamase-Producing and Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacterales in Companion and Animal-Assisted Interventions Dogs
by Emanuela Roscetto, Chiara Varriale, Umberto Galdiero, Camilla Esposito and Maria Rosaria Catania
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(24), 12952; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182412952 - 08 Dec 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2356
Abstract
Animal-assisted interventions (AAIs) are being implemented in many countries for the beneficial effects they have on humans. Patients involved in AAI are often individuals at greater risk of acquiring infections, and these activities involve close contact between humans and animals, as is the [...] Read more.
Animal-assisted interventions (AAIs) are being implemented in many countries for the beneficial effects they have on humans. Patients involved in AAI are often individuals at greater risk of acquiring infections, and these activities involve close contact between humans and animals, as is the case with humans living with a pet. The spread of multidrug-resistant Enterobacterales is a serious problem for human health; an integrated One Health strategy is imperative to combat this threat. Companion dogs can be a reservoir of multidrug-resistant pathogens, and animal-to-human transmission could occur during AAI sessions. The aim of this review was to collect the available data on the carriage of extended-spectrum beta-lactamase-producing and carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales in companion dogs and in an AAI context. Several papers have generally addressed the issue of microbial transmission during AAIs. Studies on the intestinal carriage of extended-spectrum beta-lactamase and/or carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales have mainly been conducted in companion animals while few data are available on the carriage in dogs participating in AAI sessions. This review aims to draw attention to the antibiotic resistance problem in a One Health context and to the importance of extending infection control measures to this human–animal interface, to keep the balance of benefits/risks for AAIs shifted towards the benefits of these activities. Full article
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25 pages, 3047 KiB  
Review
Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Occurrence of ESKAPE Bacteria Group in Dogs, and the Related Zoonotic Risk in Animal-Assisted Therapy, and in Animal-Assisted Activity in the Health Context
by Antonio Santaniello, Mario Sansone, Alessandro Fioretti and Lucia Francesca Menna
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(9), 3278; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17093278 - 08 May 2020
Cited by 36 | Viewed by 4706
Abstract
Animal-assisted interventions are widely implemented in different contexts worldwide. Particularly, animal-assisted therapies and animal-assisted activities are often implemented in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and other health facilities. These interventions bring several benefits to patients but can also expose them to the risk of infection [...] Read more.
Animal-assisted interventions are widely implemented in different contexts worldwide. Particularly, animal-assisted therapies and animal-assisted activities are often implemented in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and other health facilities. These interventions bring several benefits to patients but can also expose them to the risk of infection with potentially zoonotic agents. The dog is the main animal species involved used in these interventions. Therefore, we aimed at collecting data regarding the occurrence of the pathogens ESKAPE (Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Enterobacter spp.) in dogs, in order to draft guidelines concerning the possible monitoring of dogs involved in animal-assisted therapies and animal-assisted activities in healthcare facilities. We performed a literature search using the PRISMA guidelines to examine three databases: PubMed, Web of Science, and Scopus. Out of 2604 records found, 52 papers were identified as eligible for inclusion in the review/meta-analysis. Sixteen papers reported data on E. faecium; 16 on S. aureus; nine on K. pneumoniae; four on A. baumannii; eight on P. aeruginosa; and six on Enterobacter spp. This work will contribute to increased awareness to the potential zoonotic risks posed by the involvement of dogs in animal-assisted therapies, and animal-assisted activities in healthcare facilities. Full article
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