Homeowners warned to not kiss pets after first cat contaminated with coronavirus in UK

A feminine Siamese cat has grow to be the primary animal within the UK to catch coronavirus, prompting a warning to house owners to not kiss their pets or share meals with them.

The cat from southern England is believed to have caught the virus from their proprietor in Could. It was initially identified with feline herpes by a personal vet. However samples from the cat examined optimistic for Sars-Cov-2 in June as a part of a coronavirus screening programme for lots of of cats at Glasgow Centre for Virus Analysis.

Comply with-up samples examined on the Animal Plant Well being Laboratory in Weybridge final week confirmed the cat was additionally contaminated with Covid-19.

The six-year-old cat skilled solely gentle signs together with shortness of breath and nasal discharge and has since recovered. However Margaret Hosie, professor of comparative virology at Glasgow College, who leads the screening programme, suggested cat house owners to “observe very cautious hygiene”.

She stated: “When you have any respiratory indicators, then be sure you catch your cough or sneeze right into a disposable tissue, and wash your fingers earlier than you deal with your cat. Don’t kiss your cat. Don’t have the cat sleeping in a mattress with you, and don’t share meals with the cat.”

She expressed shock {that a} Siamese cat, a breed which has quick fur, caught the illness. “I assumed perhaps fluffier ones could be extra able to catch any sneezes or cough droplets. However you may’t draw any significance from that.”

She confused that solely a handful of cats all over the world had examined optimistic for coronavirus and there was no proof that the animals may transmit the illness to people.

Hosie stated: “We have been very eager to determine a UK [case] as a result of that allows us to work on understanding the transmission. It’s fairly a uncommon discovering. We’re all the time thinking about zoonotic illnesses – a illness that may be transmitted between people and animals – to see if there’s any evolution within the virus. As but our cat virus seems to be similar to all the opposite cat viruses which have been remoted throughout Europe, the US and Hong Kong. Now we have received no proof that the virus has modified earlier than it could actually infect cats.”

In early April the British Veterinary Affiliation created panic amongst cat house owners after its president, Daniella Dos Santos, appeared to recommend the UK’s estimated 10.9 million cats needs to be saved at house through the pandemic.

After its web site crashed, the BVA was pressured to make clear that solely house owners who have been self-isolating ought to preserve their pets indoors if doable, elevating the prospect of Larry the Downing Avenue cat having to enter isolation.

Dos Santos stated the optimistic take a look at shouldn’t trigger alarm. She stated: “It’s actually necessary that no one ought to panic. There have been a tiny handful of circumstances internationally the place pet animals have been contaminated with covid and there’s no proof that pets can move on covid to their house owners.”

She repeated the BVA recommendation that cat house owners who’ve examined optimistic for Covid-19 or have signs ought to preserve their cats indoors if doable.

Requested if No 10 ought to have set a greater instance by holding Larry underneath lockdown when Boris Johnson was struggling with the virus, Dos Santos stated: “I don’t know Larry, however my recommendation would stay the identical when you’ve got examined covid optimistic or [are] exhibiting indicators to maintain your cat indoors if doable. We don’t understand how a lot shut contact Larry had with the prime minister and cats ought to solely be saved indoors if they’re comfortable to take action.”

The UK’s chief veterinary officer, Prof Christine Middlemiss, stated: “This can be a very uncommon occasion with contaminated animals detected up to now solely exhibiting gentle scientific indicators and recovering inside a number of days.

“There isn’t any proof to recommend that pets straight transmit the virus to people. We are going to proceed to observe this case carefully and can replace our steering to pet house owners ought to the scenario change.”

Yvonne Doyle, medical director at Public Well being England, stated it was a reminder for individuals to scrub their fingers after contact with animals. “That is the primary case of a home cat testing optimistic for Covid-19 within the UK however shouldn’t be a trigger for alarm,” she stated.

“The investigation into this case recommend that the an infection was unfold from people to animal, and never the opposite method spherical. At the moment, there isn’t any proof that pets can transmit the illness to people.”

A small variety of circumstances of animals contaminated with Covid-19 have been reported globally, together with various tigers and lions on the Bronx zoo in New York.

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