Guinea pigs are making people ill, a new report states.
In three years, at least as many people have been taken to hospital after developing life-threatening pneumonia from their furry friends.
Most guinea pigs likely harbour the bacteria responsible for the inflammatory lung condition, which is detectable by the animals developing pink eye.
Dr Steven Gordon, chair of infectious disease at the Cleveland Clinic, who was not involved in the study, said: ‘We love our pets, but we’ve got to be smart about pets and hygiene.
‘We should be washing our hands after pet contact, and certain high-risk people – like those with compromised immune systems – should avoid contact with pets.’