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Two Cats in New York Test Positive for New Coronavirus

27/04/20 By
MSD Veterinary Manual

Two domestic cats in New York state have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. These are the first domestic animals in the US reported to be positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 in people. Both cats showed mild signs of infection and are expected to recover. So far, there is no evidence that cats have acted as a reservoir for human infection with the virus. Both cats probably caught the virus from people in their households. In addition to the domestic cats, five tigers and three lions at the Bronx Zoo have also shown clinical signs and tested positive for the virus.

Widespread testing of domestic animals for SARS-CoV-2 hasn't been done, but Tufts University is starting a study of the prevalence of the virus among client animals. In addition, a commercial veterinary laboratory has developed a SARS-CoV-2 test for domestic animals and will make it available to veterinarians beginning this week. Given the apparently low rate of infection in animals, USDA and CDC don't currently recommend testing pets or other animals for infection.

More information on the coronavirus infections in domestic cats can be read in the New York Times. Details on the Tufts University screening program for SARS-CoV-2 in domestic animals is available from Tufts University. More information on the commecial test for the novel coronavirus in animals is available from IDEXX Laboratories.

Test your knowledge
Many fungal diseases that affect both animals and people cause infections primarily through environmental exposure and are not considered a significant risk for immunocompetent individuals. Which of the following diseases is associated with direct exposure to affected animals or their grooming tools?