Cats with no symptoms spread virus to other cats in lab test

14 Mai, 2020, 13:23 | Auteur: Yves Courtet

Cats have also contracted the virus from humans, but there are no reports of a person becoming infected with the virus from a cat, although the authors suggest that the possibility deserves more research.

Nevertheless, the virus is still able to spread from human to animals, so practicing proper hygiene should always be a priority. Within three days, they found coronavirus in all of them.

The researchers, led by virologist Yoshihiro Kawaoka, experimentally infected three cats, and then placed an uninfected cat into each of the cages housing the infected animals a day later. The question now is whether felines can transmit SARS-CoV-2 back to people.

The researchers responsible for this work did attempt to grow viruses from swabs taken from the noses and rectums of the cats; they found that all the animals were emitting infectious viruses from their noses.

Cats can infect one another with the coronavirus.

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Following the positive tests, all six cats continued testing positive for about five days, according to the team. The virus was not lethal and none of the cats showed signs of illness.

The research looked at "limited airborne transmission" of the virus between cats that had been administered with the virus and other cats without the virus who lived in the same household.

"That was a major finding for us - the cats did not have symptoms", says Kawaoka, who also holds a faculty appointment at the University of Tokyo.

The researchers also noted the need to study the role that cats play in the transmission of COVID-19, and are also concerned about the welfare of the animals. It follows a study published in Science by scientists at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences that also showed cats (and ferrets) could become infected with and potentially transmit the virus.

"It depends on the household and the cat, but there could be a lot of close contact with your pet cat on occasion", Halfmann said.

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"If they are quarantined in their house and are anxious about passing COVID-19 to children and spouses, they should also worry about giving it to their animals", Halfmann said.

Both researchers advise that people with symptoms of COVID-19 avoid contact with cats.

While officials are still learning more about coronavirus and pets, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends limiting interactions between pets and people or animals outside of a household.

According to the scientists, humans remain the biggest risk to other humans in transmission of the virus. There is no evidence cats readily transmit the virus to humans, nor are there documented cases in which humans have become ill with COVID-19 because of contact with cats.

Some tigers and lions at the Bronx Zoo also have tested positive for the virus, as have a small number of other animals around the world.

In one of the cases cited by the researchers, a cat had shown mild signs of respiratory illness, and was expected to make a full recovery.

Keep cats indoors whenever possible, the CDC says, and walk dogs on a leash, maintaining a distance of at least six feet from other people and animals. Newbury is leading a research study in several states in the U.S.to test animal-shelter cats that might have previously been exposed to human COVID-19 cases.

Don't kiss your pets and keep surfaces clean to cut the chances of picking up any virus an animal might shed, he said.

The CDC said at that time there was no evidence that pets played a role in spreading the virus in the United States. In March 2020, Hong Kong's government reported that a patient's dog was tested positive for the virus. It's not known how big a dose of virus is needed to infect a person.

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