The first possible case of human-to-dog transmission of monkeypox – recently reported in a couple and their pet in Paris – had so far been a theoretical risk, said Dr Rosamund Lewis, technical lead of the monkeypox response for the World Health Organization.
The couple, who live together, were diagnosed with monkeypox at a Paris hospital in early June. Twelve days after their symptoms started, their four-year-old Italian Greyhound also started showing symptoms, according to a report published last week in the journal The Lancet.
The dog developed lesions and tested positive for the same type of monkeypox as one of the owners.
According to the report, the couple said they let their dog sleep in their bed with them and were careful to keep their pet away from other animals or humans from the onset of their own symptoms, before the dog’s symptoms appear.
“To the best of our knowledge, the kinetics of symptom onset in patients and subsequently in their dogs suggests human-to-human transmission of monkeypox virus,” the report authors wrote. “Given the dog’s skin and mucous membrane lesions as well as the positive monkeypox virus PCR results of the anal and oral swabs, we hypothesize a true canine disease, not just contact carriage of the virus. close with humans or by airborne transmission (or both).”
The authors suggested the study should spark discussion about whether pets should be isolated from their owners if they have monkeypox, and they called for further research.
NEW BUT NOT SURPRISING INFORMATION THAT SAYS
Lewis said that previously only transmission of the virus from animals to humans had been reported, referring to an outbreak of monkeypox in the United States in which people were infected with the virus through intermediary of prairie dogs.
“This is the first incident that we’ve learned of where there’s human-to-animal transmission,” Lewis said during a Washington Post live event on Monday. “This has not been reported before, and there have been no reports of dogs being infected before.
“On many levels, this is new information,” she said. “It’s not surprising information, and it’s something we’re monitoring.”
She noted that within the WHO, experts have been working with partners such as the World Organization for Animal Health and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to address the issue.
“The message that has been conveyed so far is that pets should be isolated from family members who may be infected,” she said. “That was an example of a precautionary approach, a precautionary message, because we didn’t have the information that this had ever happened before, it hadn’t been reported before, but it was a reasonable and careful message to give. And now we have the first incident where this actually happened.”
Lewis said it was unclear whether the infected dog would be able to transmit the virus to humans. But sometimes, even when they don’t have all the evidence, public health professionals need to find the most useful message that will allow people to appreciate their level of risk.
“This is an example where most pets will not be at risk, it can only be those that are actually in the household of an infected person,” she said.
CDC SAYS INFECTED PEOPLE SHOULD STAY AWAY FROM ANIMALS
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently updated their monkeypox in animals page to acknowledge that dogs can be infected with the virus.
“We are still learning which species of animals can catch monkeypox,” the agency said. “Although we don’t know if reptiles, amphibians or birds can catch monkeypox, it is unlikely that these animals are not infected with other orthopoxviruses.”
The CDC also notes that infected animals can transmit the virus to humans, and it’s “possible that infected people can transmit monkeypox virus to animals through close contact, including petting, cuddling, cuddling, kissing, licking, sharing sleeping areas and sharing food.”
The agency advises people with monkeypox to avoid contact with animals, including their pets.
Pets that have been in close contact with someone showing symptoms of monkeypox should be kept home and away from other animals and people for 21 days after the most recent contact, the CDC said. Infected people should not approach their exposed pet; they should ask someone else in the house to take care of it if possible.
If the infected person and the animal have not had close contact after the onset of symptoms, the CDC recommends having someone who lives elsewhere care for the animal until it is recovered. completely cured of the virus.