Do pets or other common animals have been infected since the new corona outbreak, and do they play a role in the outbreak? The owner of the first pet cat infected with a new coronavirus has been identified in Spain, according to a study from Spain.
On 21 May local time, the Spanish research team published the paper on the pre-printed website medRxiv, entitled “Detection of SARS-CoV-2 in pets with living COVID-19 vfed the COVID-19 lockdown in Spain: A case of an asymptomatic cat with SARS-CoV-2 in Europe”.
The natural origin of SARS-CoV-2, which led to the COVID-19 pandemic, is thought to have a high probability of being derived from bats, while pangolins, snakes, tortoises, hamsters or yaks were previously considered potential intermediate hosts in the process of spreading to humans, but these remain unclear.
The team believes that in the case of any new or emerging disease, even in epidemiology, where there is a “knowledge gap”, it is necessary to assess the spread of pets (especially dogs and cats) in the home. The study was designed to assess the infection status of pets in Rioja, especially dogs and cats, in northern Spain, and its potential propagation effects in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Between 8 April and 4 May 2020, 23 pets from 17 confirmed COVID-19 families at a hospital in Rioja were included in the study, including eight cats, one guinea pig, two rabbits and 12 dogs, none of which showed clinical symptoms associated with new coronary infections. The families were based in Rioja, and the team collected two samples from each pet, including a pharynx and a rectal swab.
Of the 23 pets, a female cat (covid8) tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 three times for RT-qPCR. The viral load shown in the specimen was 1.7 x 103 RNA copy/microliter of the N1 gene and 1.1 x 103 RNA copy/microliter of the E gene. No viral RNA was detected in the mother cat’s rectal swab.
Although it has chronic cat gum mouth inflammation, cat spontaneous cystitis (amino glucose and cartonsulphate treatment), chronic kidney disease (special feeding, renitin and cesacic acid benapri treatment) and cat asthma bronchitis (fluorotic acid treatment), the 8-year-old European short-haired cat did not show new coronary-related clinical symptoms.
It lived in the same family as another 7-year-old European short-haired cat, but two swabs of the other cat tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 RT-qPCR.
However, the authors cite another study that suggests that the effective replication and spread of the new coronavirus in cats has previously been confirmed. On April 8, local time, Science, a top academic journal, published a study by a research team from the National Key Laboratory of Veterinary Biotechnology of Harbin Veterinary Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and the National High-level Biosecurity Laboratory for Animal Disease Prevention and Control. Their research shows that the new coronavirus replicates weakly in dogs, pigs, chickens and ducks, but can replicate efficiently in the upper respiratory tract of ferrets and in the respiratory and digestive systems of cats. Experimentally infected cats can transmit new coronavirus estovirus through the air; some cats can lead to serious morbidity and even death, while younger cats are significantly more seriously ill.
Then, on May 4, 26 days after the first sample was taken, the team took samples of the nasopharynx and rectal swabs of the two cats, both of which were negative. In addition, the remaining pet swabs were negative.
“Our study is the first to report the discovery in Spain of a asymptomatic lying of SARS-CoV-2, possibly caused by close contact with its owner, who was diagnosed with COVID-19,” the team stressed in its paper. “Based on their data, they observed a “high prevalence” of SARS-CoV-2 RT-qPCR-positive cats, with one in eight cats detected as having the disease, or 12.5 percent.
So far, data on animal prevalence published worldwide are only a survey from a research team from the National Key Laboratory of Agricultural Microbiology at Central Agricultural University in Central China and the Wuhan Virus Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Shi Zhengli, director of the Center for New Infectious Diseases at the Wuhan Institute of Virus Research of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and director of the Key Laboratory of Highpathogenic Pathogenbiology and Biosecurity of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and others found that serum ELISA tests of 102 cats collected after the outbreak of the new coronary outbreak in Wuhan showed that serum from 15 cats (14.7%) tested positive for the receptor binding area (RBD) of the new coronavirus.
Studies on animal new crown testing also included a study published in Nature by a team of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Nature Care Department, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government Health Department’s Centre for Health Protection, the School of Public Health of the University of Hong Kong, the University of Hong Kong-Pasteur Research Centre and other teams, and found that two of the 15 dogs from families with confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong were found to be infected with the new coronavirus. One was a 17-year-old male Bomi dog, the other was a 2.5-year-old male German Shepherd, and a pet cat in Hong Kong was infected with a new crown.
In addition to these studies, the Bronx Zoo in New York, U.S., reported new crown infections of five tigers and three lions. In addition, one pet dog was reported to have been infected in the United States.
“Our findings suggest that while it appears unlikely that SARS-CoV-2 could spread from pets such as cats to humans, cats may be asymptomatic communicators of the virus,” the Spanish team said in a paper. “All animal cases appear to be related to the care of animals with symptomatic or asymptomatic COVID-19 infections, and to date, all positive results found in pets have been “isolated cases” associated with close contact with PEOPLE who are HIV-cov-2 positive, as also occurred during the SARS epidemic in 2002-2003.
Based on these results, the team believes that more affected cats live with confirmed COVID-19 owners than has been reported so far, given that most animals may be asymptomatic and less likely to be found after infection.
They also stressed that, as a common standard, owners should take hygiene measures when living with pets, especially when they are infected. Currently, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends limiting contact between COVID-19 infected people and their pets. At the same time, the International Veterinary Office (OIE) strongly recommends isolating animals that test positive for other uninfected animals.
It is worth mentioning that the outbreak of the new crown in the Dutch otter farms, which was first reported in April this year, is now giving some different conclusions. On May 19, local time, the Dutch government network issued a statement saying, “The new results of the COVID-19 investigation ongoing hydrolysine farms show that the new coronavirus can be transmitted from the otter to humans.” “