How resistance transfers from pets to humans


Close contact between pets and their owners creates more favourable conditions for the transfer of antibiotic resistance. An international research project is investigating which infections and situations pose the greatest risks.

Project description (ongoing research project)

With increasing frequency, humans are contracting infections from antibiotic-resistant pathogens transferred from their pets. A consortium of research groups from four European countries and Canada is seeking to explain the circumstances that make the exchange of pathogens and resistance genes between humans and animals more likely. Our team is assisting in an advisory role, as well as carrying out molecular analysis of resistance genes. The project focuses on the processes during the acute stage of an infection, since the relevant bacteria and resistance genes increase greatly during this time. By studying pet owners and their animals over a longer period, it is possible to determine the transfer risks of a range of infections at different points during the course of the infection.


The close contact between pets and their owners provides the ideal conditions for the transfer of bacteria between humans and animals. However, the extent to which this occurs and the ways in which various resistances are able to spread is still largely unknown.


The project will provide fundamental insights into the dynamics of resistance transfer between pets and humans. In addition, it will establish which infections represent the greatest risk, and at what point in the course of the infection the likelihood of transfer is at its greatest.


The findings will lay the foundations for taking preventive measures against the transfer and transmission of resistance between pets and humans.

Original title

Risk of companion animal to human transmission of antimicrobial resistance during different types of animal infection Institute of Veterinary Bacteriology

Project leader

  • Prof. Vincent Perreten, Universität Bern



Further information on this content



Prof. Vincent Perreten Institut für Veterinär-Bakteriologie Vetsuisse-Fakultät Universität Bern Länggassstrasse 122
Postfach 8466
3001 Bern +41 31 631 24 84