Explained | Are animals transmitting COVID-19 to humans or vice versa? Know how to protect your pets
New Delhi | Jagran Lifestyle Desk: Earlier this month a lioness in a Tamil Nadu zoo succumbed to COVID-19. Now, the zoo officials are testing a group of elephants to check whether anyone among them is infected too. Here’s all you need to know about the transmission of COVID-19 from humans to animals or vice versa to prevent yourself and your pet from getting infected.
Can animals catch COVID-19?
Instances of animals catching COVID-19 have become common recently. Cats, dogs, and other big mammals can all get COVID. In the US a tiger at a New York Zoo got infected by the Coronavirus. Similarly, other zoo animals like lions, pumas, cougars, snow leopards and even gorillas have shown signs of COVID-19. According to the US government agency, Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the novel Coronavirus “can spread from people to animals in some situations, especially during close contact". However, more data is needed to affirm this.
Can humans get COVID-19 from animals?
While theories of the transmission of Coronavirus from bats to humans are being researched, CDC says “at this time, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading Sars-CoV-2 to people… the risk of animals spreading Covid-19 to people is considered to be low". However, recently a case of Covid-19 spreading to humans from Mink and Otters have been reported in Netherlands, Denmark, and Poland. Cases were reported in the US too but CDC says “infected workers likely introduced Sars-CoV-2 to mink on the farms, and the virus then began to spread among the mink".
How to protect your pets from COVID-19?
Given that it is unclear currently from where the virus originated, it is important to protect both humans and animals from the deadly virus and end the transmission chain. Especially, in the case of pets, caretakers must ensure that the pets are taking the same precautions of physical distancing and sanitization as humans to protect them.
CDC says, “Treat pets as you would other human family members – do not let pets interact with people outside the household. If a person inside the household becomes sick, isolate that person from everyone else, including pets". It is also important to note that if your pet is infected it might not show any symptoms and may even recover fully.
Posted By: Talibuddin Khan