June 30, 2022 – As if cats weren’t mysterious enough, questions about cat-to-animal transmission have now resurfaced. coronavirus There are reports that veterinarian in thailand Possibly contracted COVID-19 from the cat she was swabbing.
nature Reporting this case is the first evidence of cat-to-human transmission of COVID-19, although early Pandemic Cats have been found to transmit COVID to other cats, and there have been various reports of virus transmission between animals and humans, the most important of which is the hypothesis that SARS-CoV-2 spread from bats to humans.
According to a report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Emerging Infectious Diseases, Launched online earlier this month“A veterinarian in Thailand was diagnosed with COVID-19 after an infected cat owned by an infected patient sneezed. Genetic studies support transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from owner to cat and then from cat to veterinarian Suppose.”
So should people be concerned that they might catch the coronavirus from their cats or other pets?
Instances are very rare
The odds are very low, said Dr. Jane Sykes, a professor of small animal medicine at the University of California, Davis.
Humans are much more likely to infect pets with COVID-19, and vice versa, she said.
Also, according to the CDC, cats shed live virus only for a short period of time (about 5 days).
“Some coronaviruses that infect animals can spread to people and then from person to person, but this is rare. That’s what happened with SARS-CoV-2, which may have originated in bats,” CDC says.
Proving whether cats have infected humans is difficult, Sykes said, because there is often a lag in how long people know they have COVID-19, and it can be difficult to separate interactions between people inside and outside the home from those of family members and pets.
Cat-to-human transmission may have occurred before, but it has not been confirmed, she said.
In any case, she said, “companion animals are not a significant driver of SARS-CoV-2 transmission.”
In the case of Thailand, the discovery of cat-to-human transmission was accidental. nature article.
Last August, a father and son who tested positive for the coronavirus were transferred to an isolation ward at a hospital in southern Thailand. Their cat also tested positive for the swab.
“While being wiped, the cat sneezed in front of a veterinarian who was wearing a mask and gloves but no goggles.
Three days later, the veterinarian showed up fever, a runny nose, and a cough, and later tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, but none of her close contacts developed COVID-19, suggesting she had been infected by the cat. Genetic analysis also confirmed that the veterinarian was infected with the same variant, with the same viral genome sequence, as the cat and its owner.
Although transmission is rare, the CDC says precautions are sensible and recommends that “people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should avoid contact with animals.”
If pet infection is suspected, “caregivers are advised to use eye protection as part of standard personal protection during close interactions,” the CDC said.
Earlier this year, WebMD reported that scientists had discovered coronavirus Of the 29 species, including household pets, livestock and wildlife.
A research team found in 2020 a possible case Cats infect people, but it’s hard to prove.
In most cases, humans infect animals, and animals do not infect humans.But scientists have been concerned that recent research has shown that some animals other than domestic companions – such as mink And deer – appear to be able to transmit the virus to humans.
according to a Research published in preprint server bioRxiv, The researchers found “the first evidence of highly divergent lineages of SARS-CoV-2 in white-tailed deer and deer-to-human transmission.” Last fall, experts deemed such concerns sufficient to warrant Warning to Deer Hunters Wear a mask and gloves when handling animals.
In that article, Dr. Arinjay Banerjee, a virologist at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada, said the risk of being infected by hamsters is low, but it’s “something to be aware of.”
While there’s no reason to vaccinate pets for COVID or test them for the disease just yet, there should be more awareness of the possibility, Sykes said.
“I do think it’s possible for cats to pass the infection to humans,” she said. “We know this virus is changing. We keep emerging new variants. If it becomes more apparent that companion animals could be a source of infection in humans, then we need to consider testing and even vaccinating companion animals more frequently.”