A BELGIAN woman has infected her cat with coronavirus in the world’s first known human-feline transmission.
Belgium’s public health department FPS broke the news during a press conference in Belgium today.
“The veterinary medicine faculty in Liège reported that a coronavirus infection has been determined in a cat. The cat lived with her owner, who started showing symptoms of the virus a week before the cat did,” a statement read.
“The cat had diarrhoea, kept vomiting and had breathing difficulties. The researchers found the virus in the cat’s faeces.”
So far, only three cases of owner-pet transmission of Covid-19 have been reported.
They concern two dogs in Hong Kong, and now the Belgian cat. Neither dog showed any signs of serious illness, but the cat has respiratory and digestive disorders.
Coronavirus patients have been advised to take the necessary hygienic measures when touching their pets.
“We want to stress that this is an isolated case. Additionally, in this case, we are talking about a human-to-animal transmission, not the other way around,” said professor Steven Van Gucht.
“There are no indications that this is common. The risk of animal-to-human transmission is very small.”
“Animals are not vectors of the epidemic, so there is no reason to abandon your animal,” the National Council for Animal Protection (CNPA) told the Brussels Times.
The body advised sick people to ‘respect the usual rules of hygiene,’ to wash their hands before and after stroking their pet, and not to ‘rub their nose against their pets’.