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US CDC updates guidelines on monkeypox after first suspected human-to-dog transmission in France

US CDC updates guidelines on monkeypox after first suspected human-to-dog transmission in France

This file photo shows an ultra-thin section electron-microscopic capture of the monkeypox virus. (Photo: AFP/Robert Koch Institute/Freya Kaulbars)

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its monkeypox guidelines on pets that can catch the virus to include dogs.

The inclusion of dogs came after medical journal The Lancet reported the first suspected case of a human-to-dog monkeypox transmission in France. 

According to the article published on Aug 10, two men who were "non-exclusive partners living in the same household" were both diagnosed with monkeypox in early June. 12 days after symptom onset, the 4-year-old Italian greyhound that belonged to them began showing symptoms such as lesions and abdomen pustules. 

The dog had no previous medical disorders, and test results showed that both the dog and one of its owners were infected with the same type of monkeypox.

The man and the dog were infected with the monkeypox virus that has been spreading in non-endemic countries since April this year, and has infected more than 1,700 people in France. 

The article stated that the men had been careful to prevent the animal from contact with other pets or humans from the onset of their own symptoms. 

In countries where monkeypox is endemic, only wild animals such as rodents and primates have been found to carry the monkeypox virus, the article noted.

"However, the transmission of monkeypox virus in prairie dogs has been described in the US and in captive primates in Europe that were in contact with imported infected animals. 

"Infections among domesticated animals, such as dogs and cats, has never been reported," the article stated. 

The authors of the article said their findings should "prompt debate" on the need to isolate pets from individuals who test positive for monkeypox and called for further investigation on secondary transmission via pets. 

"POSSIBLE" THAT PEOPLE INFECTED CAN SPREAD VIRUS TO ANIMALS

According to the CDC, it is "possible" that people who are infected with monkeypox can spread the virus to animals through close contact, including petting, hugging, kissing, sharing sleeping areas and sharing food. 

"People with monkeypox should avoid contact with animals, including pets, domestic animals, and wildlife to prevent spreading the virus," said the CDC.

If the pet is exposed to the virus, owners should not surrender, euthanise or abandon pets just because of a "potential exposure or monkeypox virus". Those infected should also not take care of exposed pets. 

According to the CDC, while it is not known what all the symptoms an infected animal may have, owners should watch out for potential signs of illness including lethargy, lack of appetite, coughing, nasal secretions or crust, bloating, fever, or pimple- or blister-like skin rash.

In May, the UK Health Security Agency had advised that confirmed monkeypox cases should avoid contact with any household pets for 21 days as a precautionary measure.

Source: Agencies/lk(rj)

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