Cat tests positive for coronavirus in Michigan

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A Michigan domestic cat tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 after close contact with its owners infected with the coronavirus, according to state officials.

The Ingham County’s domestic cat is the first case of its species in Michigan, despite hundreds of confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 in animals in the United States. The cat was tested after it started sneezing and has since recovered. according to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Dr. Nora Wineland, a state veterinarian, said the case was not unexpected as other pets around the world had previously tested positive. As of October 18, there were 257 confirmed cases in animals, including 99 cats. Other infected animals include dogs, ferrets, otters, primates, mink, and white-tailed deer.

Wineland said the cases in animals generally involved direct contact with an owner or caretaker who was sick or tested positive for COVID-19. According to MDARD, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in transmission to humans.

“COVID-19 mainly spreads from person to person through droplets of breath when coughing, sneezing and speaking,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, the state’s chief medical director, in a prepared statement. “Protecting pets begins with taking precautions to protect yourself by receiving one of the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that more research is needed to understand how different animals could be affected by SARS-CoV-2. Although rare, some coronaviruses can be transmitted from animals to humans, which, according to the CDC, probably first appeared in bats with SARS-CoV-2.

This was the case at a mink farm in Michigan at the beginning of the pandemic. A small number of people were infected with SARS-CoV-2, which contained unique mink-related mutations, suggesting that mink transmission to humans may have occurred, according to the CDC. Similar incidents have been reported from the Netherlands and Denmark.

To further protect your pets, the health department recommends avoiding direct contact with your animals when they are sick, including kissing and touching or sharing a bed and / or food.

Have someone else in the house look after your pets while you are sick. If this is not possible, you should wear a mask and wash your hands before and after interacting with the animals.

Symptoms of coronavirus infection in animals include fever, sneezing, coughing, nasal and eye discharge, vomiting, and / or diarrhea. If you are concerned that your pet may have contracted the virus, contact your veterinarian.

For more information, please visit the CDC Animal and COVID-19 website here.

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