A cat was tested positive for coronavirus for the first time in France after having probably been infected by its owners, announces the National Veterinary School of Alfort, which recommends that sick people apply distancing to their cat.
“The mixed virology research unit of the National Veterinary School of Alfort (Enva), the National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Security (ANSES) and INRAE , in connection with the Institut Pasteur, has detected the first cat carrying SARS-CoV-2 in France “, can be read on the Enva website.
This unit conducted tests, with the help of Île-de-France veterinarians, on a dozen cats whose owners had suspected Covid-19 infection. One of the cats, located “near Paris”, tested positive and showed “clinical respiratory and digestive signs”.
Only four cases identified before in the world
“At this stage of scientific knowledge, it seems that cats are not easily infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus even in contact with infected owners,” says the ENVA, however, “with only four naturally infected cats reported to this day in the world “.
“It is not necessarily surprising to find a cat carrying this virus since it has already been described, in Hong Kong (one case), in Belgium (one case) and in New York (two cases) but it remains a phenomenon rare since even when searching proactively, in a region where SARS-CoV-2 circulates significantly, we have so far detected only one positive animal “, specifies Sophie Le Poder, professor of virology to ENVA and co-author of the study.
No evidence that animals can infect humans
The School recommends that people with Covid-19 “limit close contact with their cat, wear a mask in their presence and wash their hands before petting”, “in order to protect their pet”.
Sophie Le Poder specifies that studies continue: “We maintain our surveillance, so we will be able to have a more precise idea of the pets which could have been affected by this virus.”
Despite several studies on the subject, there is still no evidence that the rare pets infected with the new coronavirus can contaminate humans in return.