Typhoid fever! SARS-like infections! Antibiotic-resistant superbugs! Should you believe the hype? Plus, find out which exotic “pets” are better suited for the wild. Then, it’s the deadliest creature in the history of mankind, and chances are that you’ve already encountered it! Find out what it is and how to stay protected.
Recent Viral Outbreaks
The Doctors are joined by Dr. Brad Spellberg, an infectious disease specialist from UCLA Medical Center, to discuss two alarming viruses that are infecting people in the U.S. and abroad.
The Doctors’ Investigative Reporter Melanie Woodrow reveals what you need to know about a new drug-resistant strain of gonorrhea. Evolved superbug strains of the STD have been identified in Europe and Asia, and health officials now say that the threat is growing in North America.
"Gonorrhea is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in the U.S. today," explains Serena Josel, director of public affairs at Planned Parenthood in Los Angeles. "There's an estimated 600,000 cases in the U.S. every year."
Although a new antibiotic is being used to combat the mutated strain, patients are being advised to schedule a follow-up screening a week later to ensure the treatment was effective.
If untreated, gonorrhea can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy — a potentially life-threatening condition in which pregnancy occurs outside of the womb — as well as stillbirths and infertility.
• Antibiotic resistance explained.
Pets Better Suited for the Wild
The hedgehog has become a popular household pet, but new reports show the animals have been infecting their owners, causing illness and in one case, death. It's estimated that 30 percent of hedgehogs carry salmonella typhimurium, which can be easily passed on to humans through fecal-oral transmission. Salmonella is a bacterial infection that typically causes fever, nausea, abdominal cramps, vomiting and diarrhea, but it can have more dangerous effects in the elderly, or in people with weaker immune systems.
The best way to avoid a salmonella infection from a hedgehog is to wash your hands thoroughly after handling the animal. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a nationwide alert to warn hedgehog owners of the potential dangers.
Veterinarian Dr. Karen Halligan explains that reptiles are another common reservoir for salmonella infections. "Think of them as a piece of raw meat," she says. "Wash your hands, and know that they can be transmitting salmonella in their [feces]."
Puppies may be cute and playful, but they also come with potential health hazards. Dr. Halligan shares important tips for new dog owners.
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