Acta Vet. Brno 2023, 92: 157-170

The impact of sharing a home with a pet on the physiological state of the human microbiome: a comprehensive study on the Czech population with a focus on filamentous fungi

Jan Wipler1, Zuzana Čermáková2, Vladimír Buchta1, Pavel Žák3, Markéta Vlčková4

1Charles University in Hradec Králové and Hradec Králové University Hospital, Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Clinical Microbiology, Hradec Králové, Czech Republic
2Lab Media Servis s.r.o., Jaroměř, Czech Republic
3Charles University in Hradec Králové and Hradec Králové University Hospital, Faculty of Medicine, 4th Internal Clinic-Haematology, Hradec Králové, Czech Republic
4Charles University and Motol University Hospital, 2nd Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Biology and Medical Genetics, Prague, Czech Republic

Received December 20, 2022
Accepted May 4, 2023

Czechs commonly share their homes with pet animals. However, the likelihood of transmission of filamentous fungi (FF) between the pet and the owner is not well known. The aim of this study was to define the frequency of such transmission. At the same time, the degree of closeness of owner-animal cohabitation, the effect on the spectrum of shared FF and health risk assessment were defined. The effect of previous antibiotic therapy on fungal flora was also assessed. In total, 150 pet owners and 135 pet animals from 125 households provided 911 samples; 80 non-owners provided 320 samples. All owners completed a questionnaire focusing on the level of contact with the pet and information on previous antibiotic treatment. The relationship between the contact index (CI) and the effect of previous antibiotic treatment on the number of FF species shared was quantified. Results were compared with those of non-owners. The CI was very close (CI > 4) in 131 owners (87.3%). A total of 110 FF were isolated. Common FF were found in 42 households (33.6%); 65 FF were identified in the non-owners. In the last year, 46 pets, 43 owners and 25 non-owners used antimicrobial agents. Aspergillus niger was most prevalent in owners and pets and Alternaria alternata in non-owners. The degree of contact intimacy did not seem to have any effect on the joint abundance of FF, but antibiotic treatment had a significant effect on FF abundance in non-owners. This effect was not significant in either owners or pets.


We thank all the pet owner families for their cooperation. This work was supported by Cooperative Research Area Oncology and by the internal grant project SVV 260 398 of the Faculty of Medicine in Hradec Králové of the Charles University in Prague.


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