AIDSInfected Persons in the Veterinary Workplace

The American Veterinary Association had reminded veterinarians that acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a human disease and that human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) does not infect animals other than nonhuman primates. Veterinarians and their employees are no more at risk by reason of their employment than are workers in offices. Cautions for health care workers do not generally apply to animal health care workers, but they are good rules to follow if it is necessary to render first aid for human injuries in the workplace (35).

Persons infected with the AIDS virus may be more susceptible to zoonotic transmission due to their immunocompromised status. Animal-associated pathogens of concern to immunocompromised persons include Toxoplasma gondii, Cryptosporidium spp., Salmonella spp., Campylobacter spp., Giardia lamblia, Rhodococcus equi, Bartonella spp., Mycobacterium marinum, Bordetella bronchiseptica, Chlamydia psittaci, and zoophilic dermatophytes. However, with the exception of Bartonella henselae and zoophilic dermatophytes, infections in humans are more commonly acquired from sources other than pets, and the infectious disease risk from owning pets is considered low. Nonetheless, HIV-infected persons may still be advised not to own pets because of their compromised immune status and the possibility of contracting a zoonotic disease (36).

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