Pet owners warned when cat in France is infected with Covid

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On Saturday May 2, the Alfort veterinary school (EnvA) in Val-de-Marne, near Paris, confirmed that it had identified the first national case of cats infected with the virus. The cat is strongly suspected of having caught the virus from its owners, who were showing symptoms and tested positive for Covid-19.

The case was confirmed in a study carried out by the EnvA virology research unit and the ANSES health agency (National Agency for Sanitary Safety of Food, the Environment and Work), and the national agricultural research agency National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (Inrae) alongside a prestigious research center the Pasteur Institute in Paris.

The study included a dozen cats who had been in contact with owners suspected of carrying Covid-19, thanks to the participation of veterinarians based in Ile-de-France.

Each cat was buffered for a PCR test to detect SARS-CoV-2 infection, the results of which were then confirmed by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) for the Pasteur Institute.

The cat in question was actually tested negative for the virus, but “it had clinical signs such as respiratory and digestive problems,” said EnvA.

A previous study by the same group showed that cats are not easily infected with the virus, even when they are in close contact with infected humans.

However, EnvA has now advised cat owners who have Covid-19 to limit close contact with their pet, to wear a mask in their presence and to wash their hands before petting, touching or picking up their pet.

Cats are not believed to be able to spread the virus to humans or worsen the spread of the infection.

In a study report published on April 20, Anses concluded: “[as far as we know] there is no evidence that pets and farm animals play a role in the epidemic spread of SARS-CoV-2. “

There have only been four confirmed cases in the world of cats having caught the virus in humans; in the United States, Belgium, Hong Kong and Wuhan, China (the epicenter of origin of the epidemic).

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