“cats can spread coronavirus”A team of researchers researched coronavirus communication between animals, and discovered that felines would infect each other with the virus.
There were no documented reports of a cat transmitting COVID-19 to a human, but scientists claim that it is probable that felines may be “a quiet intermediate host” for the virus, and they agree that further work is needed.
“This is especially important considering the potential for transmission of SARS-CoV-2 amongst family members in households with cats while living under ‘shelter-in-place’ orders,” they wrote in a letter published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The study team, headed by Yoshihiro Kawaoka, professor of pathobiology at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, inoculated three cats with the virus, and then exposed the community to three other uninfected cats. In five days, the infection had been detected by 3 previously uninfected cats.
They mention that neither of the cats have ever showed any signs of illness.
The researchers suggest anecdotal reports of COVID-19 transmission from humans to pet cats and among big cats at the Bronx Zoo, combined with their latest results, indicate “there is a need for public health to identify and further examine the possible chain of human – cat-human transmission.” Previous studies have shown that cats and ferrets are susceptible to the virus, but dogs are less susceptible to it.
cats can spread coronavirus
Peter Halfmann, a University of Wisconsin – Madison research professor who has helped lead the study, warn individuals with COVID-19 symptoms to prevent contact with animals. They also say cat owners should keep their pets indoors to limit their cats’ interactions with other animals and humans.
“To keep people in mind this is something,” Halfmann said. “If they are in their house under quarantine and fear about handing COVID-19 on to children and families, they will also think about giving it to their livestock.”
While the cats in the study showed no symptoms, last month a tiger in the Bronx Zoo tested positive for the virus after developing dry cough and decreasing appetite. Zoo officials thought a human caretaker possibly poisoned the tiger. Also signs developed were three other tigers and three African lions, and all were supposed to recover, the zoo said.
According to the CDC, there is also more to be known regarding this virus, “although we recognize that it travels mainly from person to person and in certain cases it seems that it may transmit from humans to animals.” The CDC also provided recommendations for pet owners on COVID-9.
Although the CDC states there is “no proof that animals play a major role in the dissemination of the virus that triggers COVID-19,” there have been cases when certain viruses propagate like this. In 2016, a doctor became diagnosed with a H7N2 influenza epidemic in cats at a New York City animal shelter, a event that “highlighted the public health effects of cat-to-human spread of animal shelter staff,” according to the current research authors.
The researchers say it is necessary to study the role that cats may play in transmitting the disease to humans, given the need to stop the coronavirus pandemic.