COVID-19 confirmed in pet cat in the UK

A domesticated pet cat

The first human-to-animal transmission of coronavirus was confirmed in Hong Kong lat the end of February, in a pet Pomeranian dog.

"This is because like human hands, pet fur could carry the virus and so it is important to adopt good hygiene when interacting with our pets, especially if they could have been in contact with other people". The evidence available suggests that the cat contracted the virus from its owners and not the other way round.

After originally being diagnosed with feline herpes, the cat tested positive for Covid-19 as part of a screening programme at the Glasgow Centre for Virus Research.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers guidance to pet owners amid the pandemic, advising any sick owners to "restrict contact with your pets and other animals, just like you would with people" until COVID-19 is better understood.

The cat was confirmed to have the virus after being tested at the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) laboratory in Weybridge last Wednesday.

It is not the first time an animal has tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 in humans.

Experts say it is the first confirmed case of infection in an animal in the United Kingdom but does not mean the disease is being spread to people by their pets.

Both the cat and its owners have since fully recovered from the virus, with all involved fortunately only showing mild symptoms.

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Professor Margaret Hosie, who works on the project, told Channel 4 News: "It's very unlikely that the pets are going to be infected outside the house, what we're seeing is owners who themselves are infected are infecting their pet cats".

Evidence suggests the cat contracted Covid-19 from its owners who had previously tested positive, the government said.

"The investigation into this case suggests that the infection was spread from humans to animals, and not the other way round".

Christine Middlemiss, the U.K.'s chief veterinary officer said cat became infected from its owner, who also tested positive for the virus.

Medical Director at Public Health England Yvonne Doyle said the animal's infection "should not be cause for alarm".

If your pet requires care, wash your hands before and after any interaction with them and wear a face mask if possible.

The case has been reported to the World Organisation for Animal Health in line with global agreements.

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