Why Monkeypox Positive Contact with Pets Should Be Avoided

Monkeypox in Italy and Europe

Experts fear the virus could be transmitted from humans to the most susceptible species, with the risk that the virus could take root in European wildlife.

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Monkeypox in Italy and Europe

Individuals who test positive for monkeypox must avoid contact with pets for 21 days. It is recommended by the UK health authorities, where 106 human cases of monkeypox have been confirmed to date. While there have been no suspected or reported infections in domestic animals to date, and the determination of the risk of transmission of the virus from humans to other susceptible species remains low, experts are concerned that “Monkeypox can spread among pets and play ping pong between pets and humans. said Professor Lawrence Young, a virologist at the University of Warwick. If we’re not careful, we risk creating an animal reservoir for a disease that can spread to humans, leading to a cycle of infection.“.

monkeypox transmission

Monkeypox virus is known to primarily infect rodents, especially squirrels, rats, and mice, but can also be transmitted to hamsters and gerbils, which may be particularly susceptible to the disease. In the UK, according to sales data, about 2 million households keep pet rodents in their home, which is why the UK Health Protection Agency (UKHSA) and other health authorities recommend that hamsters, guinea pigs and other pet rodents be removed from the homes of people infected with monkey smallpox, and are tested for the presence of the disease.

Health authorities also recommend placing other pets, such as dogs and cats, in home isolation and having regular veterinary check-ups to “ensure there are no clinical signs of infection.” According to the UK Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), people infected with the virus should avoid “where possible” cooking or caring for their pets if a tall family member can do so.

Danger of animal tanks in Europe

A document published this week by the European Center for Disease Control (ECDC) says that rodents belonging to monkeypox patients should “ideally” be isolated in facilities that monitor and test for the disease until the end of the quarantine period. The document states that animals should only be euthanized as a last resort, in situations where isolation is not possible. Larger pets such as dogs may be placed in home quarantine with regular health checks.

At present, experts say, little is known about how monkeypox can be transmitted to pets, but rodents and some types of squirrels are more easily infected and transmit the disease than humans. The ECDC says an “accidental” event in which a person infects a pet could potentially spread the virus into European wildlife, though the risk is described as “very low”.

In other words, the concern is that monkeypox could become an “endemic zoonosis”, that is, a disease that spreads between different animal species and is constantly present in new animal populations. As a precautionary measure, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) emphasizes that all mammals should be considered susceptible to monkeypox, as it is currently unknown which animal species can be infected. . In general, animal-to-animal transmission can occur by airborne droplets, inhalation of aerosolized virus or organic material containing virus particles, contact with broken skin, or ingestion of infected animal tissue.

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