Pets can teach children responsibility, as well as respect for nature and other living things, wrote UTMB Drs. Sally Robinson and Keith Bly in their Keeping Kids Healthy column. However, pets can carry infections that can be passed to humans. “Animals can spread germs just like people can. Diseases passed from animals to people are called zoonoses and children, elderly people, people with compromised immune systems and pregnant women are most likely to get them. Some common diseases pets can have are not transmitted to humans, but pets also can carry bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi that can cause people to become sick. These germs can be transferred to humans through bites, scratches and contact with an animal’s waste, saliva or dander (flakes from hair, feathers, or skin). Pets also carry ticks and fleas in their fur, which can bite people and transfer parasitic eggs or germs to people.”