New Study Finds That Cats Can Catch Coronavirus, prompting WHO investigation
Cats can become infected with the new coronavirus but dogs appear to not be vulnerable, consistent with a study published on Wednesday, prompting the WHO to mention it’ll take a better check out the transmission of the virus between humans and pets.
The study, published on the web site of the journal Science, found that ferrets also can become infected with SARS-CoV-2, the scientific term for the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease.
Dogs, chickens, pigs, and ducks aren’t likely to catch the coronavirus, however, the researchers found.
The study was aimed toward identifying which animals are susceptible to the coronavirus so that they are often wont to test experimental vaccines to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed quite 83,000 people worldwide since it emerged in China in December.
SARS-CoV-2 is believed to possess spread from bats to humans. apart from a couple of reported infections in cats and dogs, there has not been strong evidence that pets are often carriers.
A tiger at Bronx Zoo in NY City who developed a dry cough and loss of appetite after contact with an infected zookeeper tested positive for the coronavirus on Sunday.
The study supported research conducted in China in January and February, found cats and ferrets highly vulnerable to the virus when researchers attempted to infect the animals by introducing viral particles via the nose.
They also found cats can infect one another via respiratory droplets. Infected cats had the coronavirus within the mouth, nose and little intestine. Kittens exposed to the virus had massive lesions in their lungs, nose, and throat.
“Surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 in cats should be considered as an adjunct to the elimination of COVID-19 in humans,” the authors wrote.
In ferrets, the virus was found within the upper tract but didn’t cause severe disease.
Antibody tests showed dogs were less likely to catch the virus, while inoculated pigs, chickens, and ducks weren’t found to possess any strain of the virus.
“It’s both interesting and not surprising within the sense that with the first SARS epidemic, civet cats were implicated together of the vectors which will have transmitted the virus to humans,” said Daniel Kuritzkes, head of infectious diseases at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
“What these data do provide is support for the advice that folks who are with COVID-19 should be distancing themselves, not only from other household members but also from their household pets, to not transmit the coronavirus to their pets, particularly to cats or other felines,” he said.
The World Health Organization said on Wednesday it’s working with its partners to seem more closely at the role of pets within the health crisis.
Based on the evidence thus far, whom epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove told a news conference: “We don’t believe that they’re playing a task in transmission but we expect that they’ll be ready to be infected from an infected person.”
The WHO’s top emergency expert Mike Ryan asked people to not retaliate against animals over the outbreak.
“They’re beings in their title and that they need to be treated with kindness and respect. they’re victims just like the remainder of us,” he said.
Reporting by Saumya Sibi Joseph in Bengaluru; Editing by Nancy Lapid and Sonya Hepinstall; www.reuters.com