Study claims cats likely to be infected by Covid-19 from humans, prompts WHO investigation

Hemani Sheth | Updated on April 09, 2020

Mumbai, April 9 Cats are likely to be infected with the novel coronavirus through humans, according to a latest study published in the journal Science. The study is based on research conducted in China during the months of January and February a Reuters report said.

According to the study, cats and ferrets are likely to be vulnerable to getting infected with the new coronavirus through humans. Dogs did not appear to be vulnerable to the virus, as per the study. The virus is not likely to infect chickens, pigs and ducks according to the research.

The research also found that cats can infect each other through respiratory droplets. The virus had infected the cats’ mouth, nose and small intestine. Kittens that had been exposed to the virus had formed massive lesions in their lungs, nose and throat, it said.

The study comes after media reports of a four-year-old female Malayan tiger, Nadia from the Bronx Zoo in New York City have tested positive for the coronavirus had surfaced earlier this week. The test result was confirmed by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Iowa, Reuters had reported.

Nadia is believed to have been infected by a zoo-keeper who was asymptomatic at the time. Six other big cats, including lions and tigers, had also shown symptoms of Covid-19, it said. Previously, two dogs and a cat had also tested positive for the coronavirus in Hong Kong.

The Science journal findings are affirmed by an earlier study by Hong Kong's Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, Al Jazeera reported. According to the Hong Kong study, pet cats, and some dogs, can host the disease-carrying virus. According to the study cats and dogs cannot pass the novel coronavirus to humans.

Researchers have now recommended pet owners tested positive for Covid-19 to quarantine themselves not only from family, but also from their pets.

The findings of the journal Science study has prompted WHO to investigate the role of pets in the current health crisis according to reports.

Published on April 09, 2020

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