Memorandum by the Pet Health Council
The Pet Health Council (PHC) has a panel of
veterinary and medical experts whose aim it is to offer advice
to current and potential pet owners on caring for pets and being
a responsible pet owner. We therefore welcome any new research
which examines pet health in the interests of both pets and humans.
The Pet Health Council is concerned about the
research findings revealed by Professor Hugh Pennington, which
allege that the increase in Campylobacter infections is due to
the presence of dogs. PHC urges members of the public not to be
alarmed by these findings. Indeed, Professor Pennington has acknowledged
that techniques still need to be developed to specifically trace
the source of each Campylobacter infection.
The suggestion that simply stroking a pet can
cause the infection to pass to humans is incorrect. Campylobacter
organisms are generally spread by eating or drinking contaminated
food or water, unpasteurised milk and by direct or indirect contact
with faecal material from an infected person, wild or domestic
animal, bird or pet.
Simple steps can be taken to help prevent Campylobacter
infection. These include the careful and hygienic storage and
handling of raw meat, avoiding consumption of unpasteurised/raw
milk or unchlorinated water. As a general hygiene rule hands should
be washed with soap and water after handling animalsincluding
For more information, please contact: The Pet
Health Council, tel: 020 7631 3795.