“Animals infected with Covid-19 are a threat to humans”

THE ESSENTIAL

  • Covid infections are falling very slightly, remaining at almost 130,000 a day on average over the course of a week.
  • Currently, more than 24,000 people are hospitalized, including 1,648 in intensive care.

In a press release, the National Academy of Medicine emphasizes the risk posed by the animal reservoir of SARS-CoV-2 and its potential role in the emergence of new variants by mutation or recombination.

“While more and more animal species susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection were identified under natural or experimental conditions, the risk of zoonosis was suspected by the National Academy of Medicine of the origin of the pandemic, later confirmed when the Netherlands demonstrated contamination of humans by breeding martens”, writes the institution in a press release.

Several cases of animal contamination

Subsequently, several cases of animal contamination by different variants of SARS-CoV-2 of human origin were reported, affecting a wide variety of species among pets, livestock or wildlife. Zoo animals (big cats, great apes, hippos, otters) were contaminated by their keepers. In India, a wild free-ranging leopard was also infected with the Delta variant.

Although cases of contamination of dogs and cats by humans are sporadic, “The constitution of a virus reservoir in nomadic cats remains possible due to their contact with the liminal fauna of wild origin, still little studied, and the sensitivity of felines to different variants of SARS-CoV-2”, doctors judge. “Among the new companion animals, a natural infection in two rabbits with SARS-CoV-2 was reported in France”, they remember.

In Hong Kong, in January 2022, golden hamsters, imported from the Czech Republic via the Netherlands, would be at the origin of an epidemic outbreak by the Delta variant that started in a pet store employee before reaching 58 people. Since the breeding mink episode, this is the first time that contamination of hamsters of human origin has been followed by transmission back to humans, then the spread of the epidemic by human-to-human transmission. “The hamster’s high susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 designates this pet as a potential reservoir. Furthermore, research carried out around this epidemic focus reveals that the international pet trade poses a risk of long-distance spread. . of SARS -CoV-2”, says the National Academy of Medicine.

recommendations

That’s why the National Academy of Medicine recommends:
· maintain ongoing surveillance of infections detected in domestic animals as well as wild and introductory animals susceptible to SARS-CoV-2;
· perform systematic sequencing for each case considered positive by RT-PCR;
· alert infected people, symptomatic or not, that they must also apply isolation measures in relation to animals that live in their surroundings;
· inform hunters, forest workers and anyone who carries out an activity in contact with wild and liminal fauna (specialized care centers, zoos, etc.), as well as visitors to animal parks, of the zoonotic risks incurred.


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