Can pets infect people with COVID-19?
Coronaviruses belong to a large family of viruses; some of them cause diseases to people, while others affect certain animals, such as cattle, camels and bats.
Some examples of illnesses caused by coronaviruses that were transmitted from animals to people are: Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). This may be what happened with the current coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19).
The first cases of people infected by COVID-19 are related to a live animal market, but now the virus is being spread from person to person.
World Health Organization and other expert institutions are working hard to find the origin of COVID-19.
Pets and COVID-19
Some coronaviruses that affect pets (cats and dogs) could be able to infect people, but this is highly unlikely.
There are no confirmed cases of pets infected by COVID-19. And there is no evidence to say foreign animals help spread COVID-19.
Additional research is needed to know how COVID-19 could affect different animals.
How to stay healthy if you have animals?
Despite having no evidence that animals can be a source of COVID-19 transmission, it is always recommended to have good hygiene habits if you have pets. All kinds of animals carry illnesses that can affect people.
- Wash your hands after handling animals, their food, waste and supplies.
- Keep your pet clean and disinfect the area properly.
- Practice regular visits to your pet’s veterinarian and provide any relevant information about your pet. Clarify all your concerns about your pet’s health.
How to protect your pet if you are sick?
If you are sick with COVID-19, even if it is not confirmed, you should avoid having contact with your pet, and take the same safety measures you would with people. If possible, leave your pet’s attention to another member of your household. Otherwise, you should take extreme hygiene measures before and after interacting with any animals.
Source: GlobalVet, Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Photo Credits: Kira-Yan/Getty Images
Read the Spanish version of this article on our blog ParaTiMami