> We recently purchased a hamster and are having a great deal of fun with
> him. Someone told me that my son, who is on immunosuppressive *** could
> get "diseases" from the hamster. Does anyone know if humans can get
> illnesses from hamsters?
> Jackie and Webley (the hamster)
According to C.A. Johnson-Delaney, DVM in the Journal of Small ***
Animal Medicine 2(3)103-111, in the article "Potential zoonoses from
nontraditional pets with particular attention to the immunosuppressed pet
owner," there are a few potential diseases a person can pick up of a
hamster. She lumps rabbits and rodents together and lists possible risks
as pasteurella (more a problem with rabbits) which is a bacteria that can
infect wounds, ringworm, Salmonella (she recommends a culture of the
animal's fresh feces be done), mites (such as Sarcoptes), and internal
parasites such as coccidia and "Hymenolepid tapeworms." Of course this
doesn't mean that every hamster is going to be afflicted with these
diseases to pass on to their owners. The biggest risk seems to be from a
bite or scratch getting infected... so all wounds should be scrubbed and
disinfected (wounds on the child that is), and bigger wounds might need
Hope this helps!
It should also be noted the author of the article notes that "Very few
zoonotic diseases have been documented from pet rabbits and rodents,"
most of them are reported rom bite wounds in rodents and rabbit scratches.