Source: Health Day 

Two cases of a diphtheria-like illness caused by Corynebacterium ulceran were reported in the U.S., involving transmission between humans and pets. In 2022, a Utah resident with a non-healing leg wound, diabetes, and multiple pets was found to have C. ulceran. The patient, spouse, and two cats carried the bacterium and were treated with antibiotics. In 2023, a Colorado resident with persistent respiratory symptoms was also diagnosed with C. ulceran.

The patient, living with a spouse and two dogs, had a visitor whose dog was infected. All were treated with erythromycin, and the patient recovered. Researchers highlight that while C. ulceran rarely passes between pets and humans, these cases underline the need for vigilance. Routine diphtheria vaccination might protect against C. ulceran. Human-to-human transmission has not been observed, and the exact direction of transmission between humans and pets remains unclear. Findings were published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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