Nepal | August 08, 2020

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

Associated Press
Share Now:

Cats can spread the new coronavirus to other cats without any of them ever having symptoms, a lab experiment suggests.

Scientists who led the work, reported on Wednesday, say it shows the need for more research into whether the virus can spread from people to cats to people again.

Health experts have downplayed that possibility. The American Veterinary Medical Association said in a new statement that just because an animal can be deliberately infected in a lab “does not mean that it will easily be infected with that same virus under natural conditions.”

Anyone concerned about that risk should use “common sense hygiene,” said virus expert Peter Halfmann. Don’t kiss your pets and keep surfaces clean to cut the chances of picking up any virus an animal might shed, he said.

He and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine led the lab experiment and published results Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. Federal grants paid for the work.

Researchers took coronavirus from a human patient and infected three cats with it. Each cat then was housed with another cat that was free of infection. Within five days, coronavirus was found in all three of the newly exposed animals.

None of the six cats ever showed any symptoms.

“There was no sneezing, no coughing, they never had a high body temperature or lost any weight,” Halfmann said. “If a pet owner looked at them … they wouldn’t have noticed anything.”

Last month, two domestic cats in different parts of New York state tested positive for the coronavirus after mild respiratory illnesses. They were thought to have picked it up from people in their homes or neighborhoods.

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.

Those cases and the new lab experiment show “there is a public health need to recognize and further investigate the potential chain of human-cat-human transmission,” the authors wrote.

Guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that based on the limited information available so far, the risk of pets spreading coronavirus to people “is considered to be low.”

The veterinary medicine group says “there is no evidence to suggest that animals, including pets, that may be incidentally infected by humans are playing a role in the spread of COVID-19.” It stressed that person-to-person transmission was driving the global pandemic.

However, the group noted that many diseases spread between pets and people, so hygiene is always important: Wash your hands before and after touching pets, and keep your pet and its food and water bowls clean.

Halfmann, whose two cats sleep near him, said the worry may be greater for animal shelters, where one infected animal could pass the virus to many others.


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Sevilla, Leverkusen cruise into Europa League quarter-finals

Five-times winners Sevilla made light work of AS Roma when first half goals from Sergio Reguilon and Youssef En-Nesyri gave them a 2-0 win over AS Roma and sent them into the Europa League quarter-finals on Thursday. Sevilla's win, in a tie reduced to a single match played in Duisberg, Ge Read More...

Mexico, coronavirus outbreak;

Mexico's coronavirus death toll tops 50,000

MEXICO CITY: Mexico's health ministry on Thursday reported 6,590 new confirmed coronavirus infections and 819 fatalities, bringing the country's totals to 462,690 cases and 50,517 deaths. The virus is spreading quickly; just over two weeks ago, the health ministry reported 40,000 deaths. M Read More...

University of Washington forecasts 300,000 US COVID-19 deaths

WASHINGTON: Nearly 300,000 Americans could be dead from COVID-19 by Dec. 1, University of Washington health experts forecast on Thursday, although they said 70,000 lives could be saved if people were scrupulous about wearing masks. The prediction by the university's widely cited Institute for Read More...

MoWCSC

Licence of child care home seized

Kathmandu, August 6 The National Child Rights Council, under the Ministry of Women, Children and Senior Citizens, seized the licence of Kapan-based Care Child Orphanage following the rescue of 11 children sheltering there yesterday. Stating that the orphanage had violated the provisions in the Read More...

Covid-19 positive Province 2 home minister in home isolation

JANAKPURDHAM/KATHMANDU, AUGUST 6 Province 2 Internal Affairs and Law Minister Gyanendra Yadav has contracted COVID and has been staying in ‘isolation at his home as per the doctor’s advice’ since he tested positive for the virus’. Yadav, who is asymptomatic, has urged everyone who Read More...

Student enrolment remains uncertain

Kathmandu, August 6 Mainly private schools in the country have been running online classes. However, due to poor internet facility and frequent power cuts, online classes have not been effective in Nepal. Preparations to resume student enrolment since August 17 have been marred by increasin Read More...

Community spread feared in Siraha

Siraha, August 6 The spread of COVID-19 in the community has caused terror in Siraha of late. Just yesterday, four persons involved in different occupations tested positive for the virus here, according to District Health Office. Two of the four are health professionals of a polyclinic; one Read More...

VTM crunch hits Banke

Nepalgunj, August 6 The shortage of Viral Transport Medium used for collecting and transporting swab samples has hit the health offices in Banke. The local levels bought the VTMs and offered them to health offices as they did not have it. Mayor of Nepalgunj sub-metropolis Dhawal Shamsher Ra Read More...