An Italian greyhound has tested positive for monkeypox in Paris after its owners contracted the virus.
The owners developed suppurative blisters and a fever 12 days before the dog also developed a rash.
An animal virologist says human-to-dog transmission is likely rare and doesn’t pose a major threat.
For the first time, a dog has contracted monkeypox – probably from its owners. The case raises new questions about human-to-animal transmission. The dog owners, two men from Paris in a non-exclusive partnership, presented symptoms of monkeypox in late May, according to a case report published Aug. 10 in the journal “lancet” has been published.
Both men developed fevers, fatigue and headaches, as well as pus-filled blisters on their bodies. They took care to avoid contact with other people from the start of their symptoms and also quarantined their four-year-old Italian Greyhound.
Despite this, the dog also developed pus-filled blisters on its abdomen 12 days after its owners began showing symptoms. Tests revealed that the men and the dog were infected with the same monkeypox virus.
It is known that monkeypox can infect a wide variety of mammals. However, experts do not yet know which species can transmit the virus itself. Prior to this case, there had been no reports of human-to-animal transmission of monkeypox, according to the CDC.
“This is the first case we are aware of – at least in the western world during this recent outbreak. So it’s clearly not something that happens very easily,” Colin Parrish, a professor of veterinary virology at Cornell University, told Business Insider.
Infections in dogs are probably rare
According to Parrish, human-to-dog transmission or vice-versa is unlikely to pose a major risk in monkeypox outbreaks. “Right now there is no evidence that dogs are becoming a persistent carrier of infection for monkeypox,” he said. It is more likely that it is a rare so-called spillover infection, in which a virus has jumped to a new host outside of its primary host species.
Dogs and cats can also catch the flu virus that normally infects humans. However, cases in pets are rare. If viruses could spread easily between humans and dogs, there would be many more diseases shared between humans and their pets, Parrish says.
Nevertheless, the case shows that the transmission of monkeypox to and from domestic animals needs further research, the authors of the Lancet report conclude. While there isn’t enough information to say dogs are a secondary host for the virus, research should be done on how pet owners should self-isolate if they contract monkeypox.
Keep your distance from your pet
If you have a dog, there is no need to panic if you contract monkeypox. However, you should avoid close contact with your pet, Parrish said. “Certainly not sharing a bed or close contact with the animal, but I would say you can keep the dog indoors,” he said. “As long as the dog doesn’t come into contact with the lesions, it’s probably fine.”
According to the American health authorities CDC, you should limit contact with animals if you are infected. So avoid cuddling, kissing and sleeping in the same bed with your pets while you are contagious.
This article was translated from English by Ben Peters. You can find the original here.