Seattle Woman Dies After Contracting Bacterial Infection From Sick Horse She Was Riding

A Seattle woman is dead after contracting a bacterial infection from a sick horse she was riding. The woman reportedly rode a horse that was showing signs of nasal and eye discharge before falling ill. When taken to the hospital, doctors found that the woman was suffering from S. zooepidemicus, a condition most often seen in animals such as cows, horses, and cats. The woman would ultimately die as doctors reveal she contracted the deadly infection from riding the horse.

The Daily Mail reports a woman from Seattle, Washington, is dead after catching an infection from a horse she was riding. The 71-year-old woman went to a riding center operated by her daughter and rode a horse that was exhibiting some signs of a bacterial infection. The horse apparently had eye and nasal drainage at the time. However, it wasn’t until two weeks after the fatal horse ride that the woman would fall ill.

The woman’s daughter says that initially, her mother had symptoms of a simple respiratory infection which included a sore throat and cough. However, things got worse and she began vomiting and having diarrhea. Following the new symptoms, family members would find the woman unconscious in her home and take her to the hospital.

Sadly, despite efforts by medical staff, the woman would die the following day. Doctors would reveal she suffered from a case of S. zooepidemicus which is not common in humans. The doctors note that the disease is common in animals, but humans rarely contract it from their furry friends. Once the daughter revealed that one of her horses was exhibiting signs of the infection, health officials took a swab from the animal which tested positive for the infection.

#Horsetalk Fatal infection in American woman linked to horses illness https://t.co/n8rroUDrB5

— RealAnimalNews (@GoAnimalNSave) August 7, 2016

The daughter also began showing more mild symptoms of the infection and doctors took a blood sample which determined that she, too, had the bacterial infection. However, the horse was able to be treated with a round of antibiotics and the daughter would recover fully after her mild symptoms. The investigation into the strange case revealed that 32 cases of S. zooepidemicus have been reported in humans with seven of those individuals dying from the infection.

Other ways that a person can catch the potentially deadly infection is by contact with cats, cows or horses infected with the bacteria. You can also contract the infection from drinking raw milk from a cow infected with the bacteria. Therefore, health officials say that people should be sure to wash their hands thoroughly after handling cows, horses or cats. If a horse has symptoms of the bacteria, extra precaution should be taken.

Though the woman was determined to have ultimately died from the rare infection, it was noted that her age and a possible secondary infection could have contributed to her death.

“Experts believe the woman’s age may have meant she had a higher chance of becoming infected – but it is unknown whether her initial illness was a result of the bacteria. The respiratory symptoms could have been from a separate infection, which could have made the woman more vulnerable.”

Similarly, in Oregon, elephants in the Multnomah County zoo caused a tuberculosis outbreak in the human zookeepers. In total, seven zoo staff members who had close contact with the elephants tested positive for TB. The animal-to-human transmission of the TB has resulted in many requesting stricter testing of elephants in enclosures as they have higher rates of TB.

Did you know you could contract deadly bacterial infections from animals such as horses or elephants?

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