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Coronavirus: still no evidence your pet can infect you

Cases of domestic animal infections "remain sporadic and isolated in view of the high circulation of the virus in humans." Credit: Pxfuel

There is still no evidence that the few pets who were infected with the new coronavirus (Covid-19) can infect humans, despite new studies, said French health agency Anses.

Since the appearance of the coronavirus, a few cases of pets testing positive for the virus have turned up, including two dogs and a cat in Hong Kong, and a cat in Belgium, which raised some concerns about whether or not animals could infect humans.

Cases of domestic animal infections “remain sporadic and isolated in view of the high circulation of the virus in humans,” said Anses, which has reviewed developments since its last report in early March.

Pigs and poultry were not susceptible to the virus under the conditions of two trials conducted in China and Germany, according to Anses. But cats, especially young ones, are susceptible to infection, as are ferrets and hamsters, which also develop clinical signs.

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However, “no case of infection of humans by a pet has been reported to date” and “there is currently no scientific evidence that SARS-CoV-2 is transmitted from an infected domestic animal to humans,” the health agency said.

The agency does call on pet owners to respect several rules, to avoid even the slightest risk. Hands should be washed after petting an animal and after litter maintenance, and close contact with your face should be avoided. To protect the pets, sick owners should not stay in contact with them.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times