Ringworm is a fungal infection that is transmitted by direct contact between pets and people via fungal spores on the cat’s fur. Treatment is by a topical wash, ointment, tablets, or a combination of all three. It is highly contagious and precautions include vacuuming up loose fur and treating the cat’s bedding. It is easily treated in people by applying an ointment avaialble from your pharmacy.
The good news is…
- Wash your hands with soap and water or hand-sanitiser after handling cats food and water dishes, litterboxes, toys or cat saliva before you eat or drink.
- Wear gloves or wash your hands after working in gardens that cats use.
- Keep cats away from food preparation areas.
- If you are bitten or scratched by a cat, no matter how minor the wound, wash it with warm soapy water immediately. If the wound is serious, if it becomes red or swollen or if it is more than five years since your last tetanus shot, seek medical attention.
These are three of the most common diseases that our cat friends can share with us but, with the precautions above, the chance of infection from any of these is very low.
If you would like to find out more, check out Toxoplasmosis on the Australian Government Department of Health website, Cat-scratch disease on the SA Health website and the Cat Protection Society of NSW Ringworm Factsheet.