I by no means know much about this at all but I thought it might help.
First I wanted to say that my younger brother had a staph infection this year and had to be hospitalized..(not trying to scare you) but before he was hospitalized he was at home and none of our pets got a staph infection ( i didn't have rats then though) and my family didn't either.
But then this article I found says otherwise......
"Scientists used to worry about the spread of nasty germs from animals to people. New evidence suggests the opposite can also happen: pets can catch bad things from their human companions.
Canadian researchers who documented 16 cases of dangerous, hard-to-treat staph infections in horses, cats and dogs believe that all of them probably began with owners or veterinarians infecting the animals.
"We've got some pretty strong evidence that owners were responsible for their companion animals developing MRSA soft tissue infections," said Donald Low, chief microbiologist at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is a microbe that until recently was only found in hospitals, where it often spread to elderly or especially ill people who have open wounds or tubes.
Healthy people may carry it on their skin without getting sick.
In a report presented at a meeting in Chicago of the American Society for Microbiology, Low and his colleagues found that the animals had resistant staph infections that were genetically similar to the ones that occur in people.
In some cases, they showed that the animals got sick months after their owners caught identical germs.
The first Canadian case the researchers examined was in a nine-year-old bishon frise operated on in January, 2000, to remove an eyelid cyst. Despite antibiotics, the dog developed a lingering infection that turned out to be MRSA.
One year earlier, the dog's owner had undergone surgery for testicular cancer. While in the hospital, he too had caught MRSA.
When genetic tests were done on both the man and his dog, the germs were found to be identical.
Although such transmission is often difficult to prove, Shelley Rankin, a microbiologist at the University of Pennsylvania, says vets are seeing it more often in domestic animals.
"People think it only goes one way, from animals to humans," she said. "This shows the other side of the story."
The germ passes through close human-to-human or human-to-pet contact, which is why health professionals are constantly urged to wash their hands.
Researchers believe veterinary clinics may also be to blame as a source of the bug, as hospitals spread the germ to sick people.
Before the introduction of antibiotics, staph was such a big problem that sometimes entire hospitals had to be shut down. The bug was first stopped by penicillin, but it quickly grew resistant. In 1960, methicillin became the standard treatment.
In humans, a staph infection can cause pimples and boils as well as more serious conditions, such as pneumonia and lethal bloodstream infections.
For pets, as well as people, the infection can be life threatening. Of the animals studied, one dog died, and another had to have its infected leg amputated. "
I googled it and this came up....
Just so you also know staph areus sometimes is the bacteria in abscesses and bumblefoot. I know strep pneumonia is contagious but I don't think staph is. My sweet Selene (RIP) had a staph infection called Pyoderma. I handled her for almost 4 months while the skin was raw and weeping and I was fine.