Amid a global outbreak, pet owners have been wondering if their animal companions are at risk of contracting the novel coronavirus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated on April 23 that “people can spread the virus to animals in some situations.”
In 2019, the World Health Organization stated that there was no evidence that pets and companion animals could become infected with the virus.
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“At present, there is no evidence that companion animals / pets such as dogs or cats can be infected with the new coronavirus,” the WHO said on its website. “However, it is always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets. This protects you against various common bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella that can pass between pets and humans.”
But since then, there have been reports of pets and animals testing positive for the novel coronavirus. In New York, two pet cats tested positive, making them the first confirmed cases in companion animals in the United States, federal officials said on April 22.
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Earlier in April, it was reported that a tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York tested positive for the virus. The 4-year-old Malayan tiger, and six other tigers and lions that have since fallen ill, are believed to have been infected by a zoo employee, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.
In March, in Hong Kong, the first known dog that tested positive for the novel coronavirus passed away.
Those who have been infected with COVID-19 are still urged to limit their contact with animals and to have another member of their household care for their pets if they are sick, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC also notes that those sick with COVID-19 should avoid contact with their pet and, if they must, wear a face mask and wash their hands before/after interacting with pets.