By Apollo 24/7, Published on - 28 May 2020
Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that usually cause disease in mammals and birds. Some viruses in this family are found to be zoonotic, which means they can spread between animals and humans. Few viruses in this family have previously caused epidemics like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). These viruses are known to have originated from animals like bats and camels. While novel Coronavirus which caused COVID-19 is similar to that of the Coronavirus in bats, the possible animal source for COVID-19 is not yet confirmed.
COVID-19 primarily spread through contact with droplets released by an infected person while either coughing or sneezing. It may also spread through contact with contaminated surfaces located in close vicinity of the infected person. There is a common saying that goes “There are two sides to a coin”. Going by this saying, it is crucial to know if COVID-19 can spread from either animals to humans or vice-versa.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was first detected in China and has now spread across the world affecting lakhs of people. In its early days of detection, many of the COVID-19 patients had some link to seafood and live animal market in Wuhan, suggesting animal-to-human spread. However, as it spread to a larger number of cities, many COVID-19 patients reportedly did not have the exposure to animal markets, indicating person-to-person spread.
The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) recently published a study in which the transmission of COVID-19 virus was observed in cats. One cat was injected with COVID-19 virus and made to stay with another healthy cat. In a few days, the healthy cat was also infected with COVID-19 virus. However, experimentally induced infections are different from naturally occurring infections; hence this experiment may not represent the real picture. Based on this study some people may be curious to know if animals can spread COVID-19 virus to humans.
Research done till now has shown only a small number of animals being infected with COVID-19 virus. Instead, there have been many more cases (around 50 lakh globally) of humans being infected by COVID-19 virus. Besides, there is no evidence to prove that these few infected animals can transmit the infection to people.
However, it is a good idea to follow some healthy habits, in and around animals, to prevent the spread of infection. Some of these habits have been listed below:
We are learning something about COVID-19 with each passing day. Even though the COVID-19 virus spreads primarily between person-to-person, in few cases, it can also spread to animals. The first case was observed in New York City, United States, where a tiger in a zoo had symptoms of respiratory illness.
According to the available reports, several dogs, cats, and ferrets, in contact with a COVID-19 patient, have also tested positive for COVID-19. It was even found that the chance of getting COVID-19 infection is lower in dogs as compared to the chance of infection in cats and ferrets. Based on a few other studies, it was observed that pigs, chicken, and ducks neither got infected nor spread COVID-19 infection.
If we have pets at home, then there are few precautions advised by the World Health Organization (WHO) that are to be followed to keep them safe.
They are as follows:
If you are a COVID-19 patient, kindly undertake the following precautions:
If you have any questions related to Coronavirus, you can consult our team of expert doctors through online doctor consultation.
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Studies conducted on a group of COVID-19 patients revealed neurological symptoms like dizziness, headache, muscle pain, etc. which were apparent during the first one to two days of the disease.
If you’ve met someone recently who has later tested positive for COVID-19, it is natural to be worried about having contracted the virus yourself.
Many Coronavirus testing kits are being developed in India and globally to combat the growing number of COVID-19 cases. The data from these tests can offer significant insights needed to stop or slow the progression of the disease.
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