Zoonoses Guidelines

2019 AAFP Zoonoses Guidelines

The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) has released updated Feline Zoonoses Guidelines to the veterinary community, which will appear in the November 2019 issue of the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery. In publishing these Guidelines, the AAFP aims to provide accurate information about feline zoonotic diseases to owners, physicians, and veterinarians to allow logical decisions to be made concerning cat ownership. There are many benefits of having pet cats; however, education is key to prevention of these common diseases, which are transmittable between animals and humans. With these Guidelines, the AAFP also aims to address the misinformation that exists about cats and disease transmission.

To achieve these goals, the AAFP created a panel, comprised of veterinarians and physicians, who worked closely together in an attempt to make these Guidelines a document that can be used to support the International One Health movement, a globally recognized practice of studying the similarities in disease processes between humans and animals. This version of the Guidelines builds upon the AAFP’s first Feline Zoonosis Panel Report published in 2003. In 2006, the AAFP also published a panel report on feline bartonellosis. Both documents were heavily referenced and this version on feline zoonoses focuses on new information published since 2003 and provides an updated reference list and recommendations. The recommendations of the panelists are based on published data when available, and recommendations of other public health affiliated groups were taken into consideration.

“These guidelines are a great example of veterinarians and physicians working together in One Health to provide accurate information about safe cat ownership,” said Michael R. Lappin, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, Chair, Zoonoses Guidelines and the WSAVA One Health Committee.

The Zoonoses Guidelines focus on the enteric zoonoses; scratch, bite or exudate exposure zoonoses; ocular and respiratory zoonoses, urogenital tract zoonoses, vector-borne zoonoses, and lessening the risk of zoonotic transfer of disease from cats to people. Additionally, the Guidelines are accompanied by a cat owner client brochure entitled, “What Can I Catch from my Cat?” The brochure discusses how zoonotic organisms are spread, provides examples of potential cat-associated zoonoses, and discusses how to decrease your risk.

The Guidelines were authored by an expert panel whose members include Michael R. Lappin, DVM, PhD, DACVIM (Chair); Thomas H. Elston, DVM, DABVP (Feline); Lisanne Evans, DVM, DABVP (Feline); Carol Glaser, DVM, MPVM, MD; Lorraine Jarboe, DVM, DABVP (Canine/Feline); Peter Karczmar, MD, DABIM (Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Medicine, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine); Cathy Lund, DVM; Michael Ray, DVM.