Why are ferrets illegal in Australia

Humans can infect animals with SARS-CoV-2

Italian researchers tested 540 dogs and 277 cats from households with corona patients or in areas particularly badly affected by corona, such as Lombardy. The researchers were able to detect antibodies to the virus in 3.4 percent of the dogs and 3.9 percent of the cats.

The studies on a relatively large number of animals confirm the assumption that human pets can be infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus - however, an infection is unlikely to happen the other way round.

Because the tests for viruses in swabs from the mouth, nose and throat were negative in all animals - the virus excretion ends after two weeks. The test was carried out between March and May 2020.

Pets are less likely to spread the virus

The broad-based investigation is helpful for the scientific colleagues. According to Thomas Mettenleiter, President of the Friedrich Loeffler Institute (FLI) Greifswald, the results are not really surprising: "They confirm what we already know," said Mettenleiter. However, it is good to have a study with such a number of pets. "It is not that easy to get samples."

All clear: the contact of healthy people with pets does not have to be restricted

The study confirms the previous assessment of the FLI that dogs or cats have so far played no role in the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The decisive factor is the transmission from person to person. "We assume that the virus is usually transmitted from humans to animals," said Mettenleiter.

From the current perspective of the FLI, contact between healthy people and pets does not have to be restricted. Infected people, on the other hand, should avoid contact with pets to be on the safe side.

Animals probably do not die from corona infection

According to Mettenleiter, there has so far been no evidence that animals die of a corona infection. Even if pets become infected, according to the FLI this does not automatically mean that the virus can multiply in the animals and is excreted by them again with nasal secretions, coughing or feces.

Also read: Dogs can sniff out COVID-19

In addition, according to the FLI, there is so far no evidence that pigs, chickens and other farm animals can become infected with SARS-CoV-2. Tests with several animal species are currently being carried out at the institute. Initial results suggest that ferrets and fruit bats are susceptible to the virus, but chickens and pigs are not. Studies in cattle have only just begun.

Coronavirus outbreaks in animal farms

Unlike most other pets, ferrets and minks are considered problematic. Researchers are currently investigating the question of how the virus got into mink farms in the Netherlands, Spain and Denmark and infected almost all animals held there - i.e. whether the employees of the breeding farms infected the animals or the animals infected the employees.

The outbreak on a Spanish mink farm near La Puebla de Valverde, a 500-inhabitant village in the north-western region of Aragon, was discovered after 14 employees tested positive for the coronavirus at the end of May. Two other employees were infected after the mink farm was closed.

More than 1.1 million mink were killed as a precaution in the Netherlands alone

The outbreaks in the Netherlands began in April. During the investigation, the veterinarian Professor Wim van der Poel from the University of Wagingen found that the virus strain found in mink is similar to that that circulates among humans.

"We suspected that it is possible that it will be transmitted again (from animals) to humans," said van der Poel. That also happened to at least two farm employees.

Authorities kill millions of minks

As a precaution, more than 92,000 mink were killed on the instructions of the authorities on the Spanish mink farm near La Puebla de Valverde in August. 90 percent were infected with the corona virus.

In the Netherlands alone, more than 1.1 million mink where the virus had spread had already been killed, said the Dutch Authority for Food and Safety of Consumer Products.

There are around 160 mink farms in the Netherlands; they are the fourth largest producer of fur in the world after Denmark, China and Poland. Spain has 38 mink farms, most of them in Galicia.

Denmark then ordered in early November that all mink in fur farms must be killed. Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen gave the decision on November 4th. known. "That mutated
Virus in the mink could put a future vaccine at risk, "she adds.

In Denmark, there had been repeated outbreaks on mink farms despite countermeasures.

This article from 4/8/2020 was last updated on 5/11/2020 due to new infections in Danish mink farms

  • The raccoon dog as a coronavirus sling?

    The new prime suspect

    This cute little fellow is a raccoon dog - and a carrier of well-known SARS viruses. Virologist Christian Drosten therefore brought up the raccoon dog as a potential SARS-CoV-2 virus slinger. "Raccoon dogs are widely caught in China or farmed for their fur," he said in an interview with the Guardian. For Drosten, the raccoon dog is clearly the main suspect.

  • The raccoon dog as a coronavirus sling?

    Are bats wrongly accused?

    So far, bats have been considered the most likely reservoir of SARS-CoV-2. However, veterinarians assume that there must have been another species as an intermediate host between them and humans in Wuhan in December 2019. The only thing that remains unclear is what kind this could be.

  • The raccoon dog as a coronavirus sling?

    Or is it this suspect?

    Pangolins, also known as pangolins, are suspected of being the intermediate host of the virus. In any case, researchers from Hong Kong, China and Australia were able to detect a virus in Malaysian pangolins that is amazingly similar to SARS-CoV-2. The study was published in Nature on March 26th. Pangolins are illegally traded in Chinese wildlife markets.

  • The raccoon dog as a coronavirus sling?

    Cats as a virus spreader?

    Researchers at the Veterinary Research Institute in Harbin, China, were able to show that the novel coronavirus can multiply in cats. The house tigers can also pass the virus on to other members of their own species, but not very easily, according to the researchers working with veterinarian Hualan Chen, who published his preliminary study on March 31 in the journal BioRxiv.

  • The raccoon dog as a coronavirus sling?

    Do not worry!

    Cat owners should not panic: the animals quickly develop antibodies against the virus, so they do not remain contagious for very long. Anyone who suffers from a previous illness or is very old can temporarily restrict the outdoor space for domestic cats. Healthy people should wash their hands thoroughly after petting.

  • The raccoon dog as a coronavirus sling?

    Rescue of honor for dogs

    In contrast to cats, the virus could not multiply well in dogs, the researchers write in their study. So give the all-clear for walking or agility training!

  • The raccoon dog as a coronavirus sling?

    Who is infecting whom here?

    In any case, this domestic pig out for a walk in Rome need not be afraid of the dog. But neither does the dog in front of the grunting opponent. The vets found that pigs are hardly an option as a reservoir for the coronavirus.

  • The raccoon dog as a coronavirus sling?

    Quarantine for ferrets

    It is different with these scratchy martens. Hualan Chen has also experimented with ferrets. The result: SARS-CoV-2 can multiply in them just as it does in cats. The transmission between the animals takes place as a droplet infection. The doctors found the virus in swabs from the throat and nose of ferrets and cats, but could not detect any infection of the lungs.

  • The raccoon dog as a coronavirus sling?

    Chickens as a threat to humans?

    The experts also give the all-clear for handling poultry - here a trader in Wuhan. Humans don't have to worry because chickens are practically immune to SARS-CoV-2. Incidentally, this also applies to ducks and other species.

  • The raccoon dog as a coronavirus sling?

    When man becomes a danger

    But not only humans can be infected with animals, but also vice versa. The four-year-old Malaysian tiger cat Nadia has tested positive for the virus in a New York zoo. "It is - as far as we know - the first time that a wild animal has been infected with Covid-19 by a person," said the zoo's chief veterinarian, told National Geographic magazine.

    Author: Fabian Schmidt