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Pet Animals May Catch COVID-19 from Owners

Oct, 2020

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A pet cat in the United Kingdom has been tested positive after contracting the novel coronavirus from its owners.

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19 pandemic) is believed to have zoonotic origins and has close genetic similarity to bat coronaviruses, suggesting it emerged from a bat-borne virus. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the coronavirus is originated in wild bats that live in caves around Wuhan city, China, and may have been passed to the other species of the animal before infecting people. The virus has made its way to almost every corner of the world and has infected millions of individuals around the world.

However, there is no strong evidence that suggests that the virus has zoonotic origins. Novel cases of coronavirus-infected pets have been reported since the virus first surfaced. Now, a pet cat in the United Kingdom has been tested positive after contracting the virus from its owners. A pet cat developed COVID-19 symptoms such as shortness of breath. Initially, the cat was suspected to have a common respiratory infection named feline herpes virus. A sample has been tested positive for the novel coronavirus at the U. K. Animal and Plant Health Agency (on July 22) as a part of a research program.

The program aims to examine hundreds of samples for the presence of the coronavirus in the U. K.'s cat population. According to the health experts, this is the first case (human to a cat) of COVID-19 in the country, however, this does not mean that the novel coronavirus is being spread to individuals by their pets. Moreover, coronaviruses alone have caused outbreaks in individuals 3 times in the past 20 years. To date, the novel coronavirus has infected more than 18 million individuals and killed more than 689,347 people across the globe. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, dogs, cats, and a few other animals might be infected with the virus.

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