Zoonotic Diseases From Guinea Pigs

Microsporidia are intracellular organisms that infect humans and animals and are now considered to be fungi. Of the 14 microsporidian species pathogenic to humans, Enterocytozoon bieneusi has been reported to occur in several species of domestic and wild animals, including dogs, cats, pigs, and cattle. The guinea pig is likely the natural host for the parasite. Enterocytozoon bieneusi is the most common and is a significant pathogen in AIDS patients, people with weakened immune system, as well as travelers, children, and the elderly. AIDS patients experience chronic diarrhea with accompanying weight loss and increased mortality. No antiparasitic therapy has been approved for this parasite.

Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) is the most ubiquitous arenavirus that persistently infects and pet rodents including hamsters and guinea pigs. Human disease caused by LCMV is generally mild, often asymptomatic, and death is a rare exception.

Scabies infection after handling of pet guinea pigs are fairly common.

Guinea pig

Guinea pigs are commonly infected with Yersinia pseudotuberculosis and clinical signs are usually not present. The pathogen causes gastroenteritis in humans.

Guinea pigs can be infected with Salmonella.

Streptococcus equi subsp. zooepidemicus is a known zoonotic pathogen that infects guinea pigs, horses, pigs, ruminants, monkeys, cats, and dogs. Few human case-patients with S. zooepidemicus infection have documented guinea pig exposure even though such infections have been described in guinea pigs since 1907. The pathogen causes influenza-like symptoms, thigh pain and stiffness, nausea, shivering, fatigue, diarrhea, sweating, and headache, followed by kidney failure, sepsis, pneumonia, and bilateral lower extremity edema.


  1. Transmission of Enterocytozoon bieneusi between a Child and Guinea Pigs. Vitaliano A. Cama.
  2. Guinea pigs serve as intermediate hosts of of Gnathostoma speciea of parasitic worms which invade surrounding tissues or the eye itself by a wandering larva.
  3. Streptococcus equi subsp. zooepidemicus Infections Associated with Guinea Pigs. Karen Gruszynski et al.



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