Cats Can Get Infected By COVID-19
According to research, cats can become infected with the novel COVID-19, but dogs seem to be not susceptible, prompting the World Health Organization to say that it will keenly study the transmission of the virus between animals and humans.
The research study discovered that ferrets could also get infected with COVID-19. The study is published in the journal Science.
The researchers found that pet dogs, ducks, pigs, and chicken are not likely to get infected.
The research study was aimed at determining which pets are more susceptible to the virus so they can be used in the developing vaccines against the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused around 83,000 fatalities around the world since it emerged from China in December.
This novel virus is believed to have spread to humans from bats. There is no solid evidence that pets can be carriers, besides a couple of reported infections in pet cats and dogs.
A tiger was infected with the coronavirus at the Bronx Zoo, New York City, after coming in contact with an infected zookeeper. The tiger had lost appetite and developed dry cough.
It was discovered that cats and ferrets are vulnerable to the infection when scientists tried to infect the pets by introducing the virus via the nose, as per the research performed in China in the month of January and February.
Cats can infect each other through respiratory droplets, as per researchers. The infected cats had the presence of the virus in the mouth, nose, and small intestine. Substantial lesions were found in the lungs, nose, and throat of infected kittens.
The authors wrote, “Surveillance for COVID-19 in cats need to be considered as an aid in the elimination of COVID-19 in human beings.”
The upper respiratory tract of the ferrets was found to have the virus but did not cause severe infection.
Antibody tests revealed that dogs were less likely to get infected, and while the viral strain was inoculated in pigs, chickens, and ducks, there was no strain of the infection found.
Daniel Kuritzkes, Head of infectious diseases, Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, said: “It’s both fascinating and not surprising in the sense that with the initial SARS epidemic, civet cats were linked as one of the vectors that may have transmitted virus to humans.”
Daniel added, “What all this information do offer is support for the recommendation that people who are infected with COVID-19 should distance themselves, not just from other family members but also from their pets, so as not to transmit the virus to their pets, specifically to felines.”
The World Health Organization stated that it is collaborating with its partners to study more about the role of animals in this pandemic.
“We don’t believe that they are playing a role in transmission, yet we think that they may be able to be infected from an infected person,” said Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO epidemiologist, told a news conference on the basis of evidence gained so far. Mike Ryan, WHO’s top emergency expert, asked people not to retaliate against animals during this pandemic.
He included, “They are beings in their very own right, and they deserve to be treated with respect and kindness, and they are also victims just like us.”
Author: Sruthi S