Photo: Getty Images
  /  08.16.2022

Last week (Aug. 10), France documented their first case of monkeypox transmission from humans to an animal. According to the French medical journal The Lancet, 12 days after symptom onset from two male non-exclusive partners, their Italian greyhound began to develop lesions on its abdomen and anus. The outlet adds that the men allowed their dog to sleep in their bed, which is likely how the transmission occurred.

Yesterday (Aug. 15), CBS News announced that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave an update to alert citizens that animals like dogs can contract the virus. On June 23, the World Health Organization upgraded monkeypox to a public health emergency of international concern. The virus spreads through contact with infected individuals from bodily fluids or exposed lesions, and surface items like bedding and fabrics. Sources say wild animals such as primates or mice can be monkeypox carriers in countries where the virus is endemic.

Before France’s documented case, the spread of monkeypox through commonly domesticated pets had not been reported. Researchers who spoke with The Lancet say, “To the best of our knowledge, the kinetics of symptom onset in both patients and, subsequently, in their dog suggest human-to-dog transmission of monkeypox virus.” They added, “Our findings should prompt debate on the need to isolate pets from monkeypox virus-positive individuals.” According to the updated CDC guidelines, individuals who have monkeypox and have pets are recommended to allow family or friends to care for the animal if it has not yet been exposed to the contagious virus.

Dr. Lori Teller (president of the American Veterinary Medical Association) told USA Today the transmission of monkeypox between humans and their pets remains “extremely low.” She added, “We know the spread of monkeypox comes with very close contact. If you’re out walking your dog … they’re not likely to have close contact with other animals or people.”

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