Pets can make great companions for children, teaching important values such as compassion and responsibility. However, children can be at higher risk for several pet-related illnesses. In Los Angeles County, the highest
rate of bites reported occur in children aged 4-9. Children may also be at higher risk of zoonotic diseases transmitted fecal-orally or by direct contact (flea-borne diseases, gastrointestinal parasites, ringworm and more).
Children should never be left with pets without supervision, and should
always wash their hands after playing outside or with a pet. In addition, pets should be up-to-date on their vaccines and preventive care.
Preventing Animal Bites in LA County Infants and Young Children - Animal Safety Tips (CDC)
Pregnant women should exercise caution around their pets in order to prevent infection from zoonoses or injury to themselves (e.g. bites).
There is no need to remove a pet from a household where a woman is expecting. Toxoplasmosis in cats is more commonly transmitted to people through eating undercooked meat.
Only cats that go outdoors and ingest rodents can be infected with
Toxoplasma gondii. In addition, healthy cats typically shed the parasite once in their lifetime. Other zoonoses that can constitute an increased risk during pregnancy include lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (rodents) and listeriosis (raw milk).
Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Virus (LCMV) and Pregnancy(CDC)
Preventing Infections in Pregnancy (CDC)
Chemotherapy, organ transplants, and other conditions (e.g. HIV) that
affect the immune system may increase risks of infections from contact with animals. Precautions should be taken to reduce the likelihood of disease transmission from pets to immune-suppressed
persons (hand washing, avoiding licks to the face). Pets of immune-suppressed owners should be up-to-date on their vaccines and other preventive care.
Pets and the immune-compromised person (NIH)
Organ Transplant Patients - Pet Safety Tips (CDC)