Therapy dogs may unleash superbugs, researchers say
NEW YORK (AP) — Therapy dogs can bring more than joy and comfort to hospitalized kids. They can also bring stubborn germs.
Doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore were suspicious that the dogs might pose an infection risk to patients with weakened immune systems.
They discovered that kids who spent more time with four therapy dogs had a 6 times greater chance of coming away with superbug bacteria than kids who spent less time with the animals.
But the study also found that washing the dogs before visits and using special wipes while they’re in the hospital took away the risk of spreading that bacteria.
The results of the unpublished study were released Friday at a scientific meeting in San Francisco.