Ringworm is a common skin fungal infection that can affect many animals. While this is not a serious condition and it is something that you can treat, it is unpleasant and something that you would want to avoid. In Thailand, the Public Health Ministry has recently warned that they are at risk of catching the infection from their cats. As cats are one of the most popular pets in Thailand, this advice has distressed many people.
Dr. Opas Karnkawinpong is the deputy permanent secretary for the Public Health Ministry. Acting as spokesperson for the ministry, he warned pet owners of the risks. He said that even if your cat is not displaying the symptoms of this common fungal infection, it is still possible that they are carriers of ringworm and that there is a risk that they can pass this on to their human owners. This news soon spread on social media sites causing alarm to cat owners across Thailand.
In response to the panic, Pornpitak Panlar, a veterinarian and the deputy director of the Disease Control Department’s Vector-Borne Diseases Department, offered his advice to the public. His recommendations included washing your hands directly after petting your cat and just before eating. These are two measures to take to reduce the risk of infection from your cat.
He went on to offer further advice to cat owners by saying it was vital that they get their cats checked regularly by a veterinarian and make sure the cats are up to date with their vaccination. He also advised people what to do if their cat bites or scratches them leaving them at risk of an infected wound or a skin infection. Panlar said it is vital that people clean out the wound immediately and then seek the advice of a vet.
Another way he suggested people could reduce the risk of infection and cross-contamination was to not allow cats to lick them. Furthermore, he said that cat owners should not allow their cats to lick food containers and to stop them from mingling with other animals outside the house that may have a ringworm infection.
So, what is ringworm and how would you recognize the signs of this infection on either yourself or your cat? Ringworm is an extremely common fungal infection that is contagious. The signs are raised red patches on your skin that are itchy and scaly.
The treatment for this condition is the same for both humans and cats. If your cat has ringworm, a veterinarian will prescribe an antifungal cream for you to apply and the infection will clear up in two to four weeks. Similarly, if you have a ringworm infection, visit the doctor and they will also prescribe an antifungal cream to apply directly to the affected areas. Do not use the human medication on the cat or the cat’s medication on yourself. After applying the cream, you should always wash your hands.
If you do become infected with ringworm from your cat, it is important to take steps to prevent other family members in your household becoming infected. Avoiding skin-to-skin contact and regularly washing your hands are two simple measures you should take. It is also important that every member of the household uses a different towel as sharing towels is a common way that ringworm is transferred from one person to the next.
In the event that another person in the family does become infected, it is essential that they visit the doctor and get a prescription for their own cream. Two people must never share the same medicated cream as it puts both at risk of continued infection.
Although the news from Thailand’s Public Health Ministry has caused distress to Thai cat owners, there is no need for extreme panic. This is a simple fungal infection that is easily treated in both cats and humans. By following the advice given with regards to preventing cross-contamination, you can greatly reduce the risk of getting a ringworm from your cat. It is also important to note that not all cats are carriers of ringworm, so not every cat owner is at risk of getting this fungal infection. Therefore, while it is important to take precautions, there is no need for mass panic.