The World Health Organization stated on Wednesday that cases of monkeypox transmission from human to dog is not uncommon.
“Having one contaminated animal is not rare,” Mike Ryan, WHO’s chief of health emergencies, said during a press briefing. “It’s not surprising, but we don’t want sickness to spread from one species to the next.”
The comments come after a recent study published in The Lancet documented an Italian greyhound that got the virus from its owners, who said they sleep alongside the dog. The dog was diagnosed with monkeypox after it developed lesions.
Ryan stated that “animals and pets do not pose a concern to people at this time.”
“I believe it is critical that new viruses do not establish themselves in other animal populations,” he stated. “Single exposures or illnesses in certain animals are not uncommon.”
People who have monkeypox should avoid contact with animals, including pets, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Infected animals can transfer Monkeypox virus to people, and infected people can spread Monkeypox virus to animals through intimate contact, such as caressing, cuddling, embracing, kissing, licking, sharing sleeping spaces, and sharing meals,” according to the CDC.
If the person with monkeypox did NOT have close contact with pets after symptom onset, ask friends or family members who live in a separate home to be the animal’s caretaker until the person with monkeypox fully recovers,” the agency said.
But if the animal did have contact with someone who has monkeypox, it should be “kept at home and away from other animals and people for 21 days after the most recent contact.”
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