UPDATE: Since this article, there have been new developments regarding pets and COVID-19. Please click here to view the latest information.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), no animals in the United States have been identified with the virus, and there is no evidence that dogs or other pets can contract or spread COVID-19.
Friday, February 28, brought new developments related to the novel coronavirus first identified in China, including news that a dog in Hong Kong was quarantined after samples obtained from its nasal cavity and mouth tested “weak positive” for the virus that causes COVID-19. The dog’s owner has tested positive for the virus SARS-CoV-2, formerly called 2019-nCoV, and has COVID-19.
The implications of a “weak positive” test result are unclear, and it’s unknown if the presence of the virus is due to infection, environmental contamination, cross-reactivity, or even potential issues with the test itself. Hong Kong officials said the dog showed no clinical signs of illness, has been quarantined and is being cared for, and will continue to be monitored and tested to determine its status.
Health officials across the U.S. remain on high alert due to COVID-19.
- Right now, the primary concern is for human health. The virus causes flu-like symptoms in people, including mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.
- At this time, experts have not expressed concern about transmission to or from animals. Multiple international health organizations have indicated that pets and other domestic animals are not considered at risk for contracting COVID-19.
- As always, animal owners should continue to include pets and other animals in their emergency preparedness planning, including keeping a two-week supply of food and medications on hand.
- The COVID-19 outbreak began in Wuhan City, Hubei province, China.
- Initial reports implicated a seafood and animal market in Wuhan City, but person-to-person spread has been indicated in numerous countries.
- There is no antiviral agent proven to be effective against this disease, and there is no immunization available.
- The immediate health risk to the general public in the U.S. is still considered low, although the CDC considers the virus a very serious public health threat.
- The coronavirus responsible for COVID-19 is designated SARS-CoV-2 (formerly 2019-nCoV).
- The CDC is tracking updated information about COVID-19 cases worldwide and in the United States.
- The U.S. State Department has issued the following travel advisories referring to COVID-19: Level 4: Do not travel for China and Iran; Level 3: Reconsider travel for Mongolia and South Korea; and Level 2: Exercise increased caution for Italy, Japan, Hong Kong, and Macau.
Looking for more information?
Find more information about 2019-nCoV and its impact on the CDC, World Health Organization (WHO), and World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) websites. These pages may be of additional interest:
- Symptoms of 2019-nCOV
- How it spreads
- Prevention and treatment
- Frequently asked questions
- U.S. State Department travel information
- Person-to-person transmission study
- WHO: Rolling updates, situation reports, Q&A, and more
This is a dynamic situation with rapidly changing morbidity and case fatality rates. The websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), and Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) should be reviewed for the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, also called 2019-nCoV.
SHARING THE FACTS FROM THE CDC
There are simple things you can do to help keep yourself and others healthy.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.