A study has shown that cats are capable of spreading the COVID-19 to other cats without showing any signs or symptoms, according to a lab experiment.
On Wednesday, reports from the researchers who pioneered the work revealed that there is a need to further the research the infection process if it is possible to go from person to cat and back to person again.
Pet owners may be at risk
The possibility was made light of by health experts with the American Veterinary Medical Association saying that the results of lab-infected animals do not showcase real-life infection rates.
As reported by Time, virus expert Peter Halfmann said if anyone is concerned about the possibility may use "common sense hygiene" to wash away their doubts. Adding to this, he said don't go into close contact with your pets, such as kissing and maintain regularly cleaned surfaces to cut down on the chances of the virus being transmitted.
Halfmann, along with his colleagues from the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine were the leaders of the laboratory experiment, which was paid by federal grants, and published their results on Wednesday to the New England Journal of Medicine.
The experiment had the team take the coronavirus from a human patient and transferred it to three cats. Each of the three cats was then housed with another cat that did not have the infection. In just five days, the disease has spread to all three of the new animals.
The six subjects never showed any signs or symptoms during the entire experiment. Halfmann said, "There was no sneezing, no coughing, they never had a high body temperature or lost any weight." Also adding that owners of the felines would never even think there was something wrong with them.
Animals that have been infected
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is a scarce chance of having an animal with the coronavirus infect humans which will then spread to other people. This was the case with the initial infection of the coronavirus. There is no guarantee of what the source of the virus is, however, amid the ongoing investigation of public health officials and partners.
The COVID-19 spread mainly thru respiratory droplets which include sneezing, coughing, and talking. There is currently no evidence to suggest that animals play a crucial part in the spread of the virus.
Animal to human infection may be rare and baseless. However, human to animal transfer has been observed. The United States Department of Agriculture has previously reported that the first case of COVID-19 in animal belong to a tiger located in a New York zoo.
The tiger has had its samples taken after several different animals in the same establishment showed symptoms of respiratory diseases. The animals are believed to have contracted the infection from a zoo employee who was tested positive.
The tiger began showing signs of illnesses on March 27 as the establishment was ordered to close itself since mid-March temporarily.
The cases, along with the experiment, had prompted the authors to advise that there is a growing need to identify and investigate the potential transmission of the disease from human-animal-human as numbers rise.
The CDC stated guidelines that say the limited information available currently shows little risk with the chance of pets spreading the virus to a human being considered as improbable.
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