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Important member updates on COVID-19

  |   Animal Health, COVID-19

News reports from last evening indicate that Hong Kong authorities have quarantined a dog after samples from the dog’s nasal cavity and mouth tested “weak positive” for the COVID-19 virus. The dog’s owner has tested positive for COVID 19. The implications of a “weak positive” test result remain unclear, and it is unknown if the detected presence of the virus is due to infection or environmental contamination. The Hong Kong Agricultural, Fisheries, and Conservation Department has issued a statement, which is available here: Detection of low level of COVID-19 virus in pet dog. The AVMA is working with CDC to share information and ensure related recommendations for veterinarians, their patients, and their clients are appropriate and coordinated.

AVMA has posted an alert on their website, updated their recent blog post on coronavirus, and posted Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram updates. These posts are regularly being updated as new information is received and additional resources are developed.

The AVMA is cognizant of potential medical supply chain issues, including both pharmaceuticals (specifically active pharmaceutical ingredients [APIs]) and medical products, such as personal protective equipment. They have learned from FDA that there are 32 animal drug firms that make finished drugs or source active pharmaceutical ingredients in China for the United States market. The FDA has contacted all 32 firms and no shortages have been reported at this time. However, six of those firms have indicated that they are seeing disruptions in the supply chain that soon could lead to shortages. The FDA is working with these firms to help identify interventions to mitigate potential shortages. FDA has done similar work on the medical product/device side. A webpage has been created through which the FDA is sharing information around the availability of drugs and medical supplies, which is available here: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/coronavirus-covid-19-supply-chain-update. AVMA is also in close communication with FDA and supporting its efforts by gathering information about drug needs and any related concerns from veterinarians, practices/practice groups, and veterinary distributors. Veterinarians are encouraged to send information regarding any supply chain issues of concern to the AVMA at [email protected]. Detailed information on the product of concern and the manufacturer/distributor of that product will be most helpful.

The government has issued some travel warnings, certain commercial carriers have suspended flights, and businesses are starting to curtail business travel in an effort to control the spread of COVID 19. While the AVMA and the WSVMA have not instituted such restrictions and we certainly don’t want to raise undue alarm, we are also cognizant of the need to ensure that contingency plans are in place around meetings, travel, and business continuity to protect the health of our members and the association. AVMA and WSVMA are currently working to adapt and refine those plans, in the event that additional travel restrictions are imposed, or alternate meeting plans are needed to protect members from unnecessary exposure.

The WHO has increased its coronavirus risk assessment to “very high” and has suggested foreign governments not underestimate the threat: https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/485148-who-raises-coronavirus-threat-assessment-to-highest-level?userid=414688. We don’t wish to create undue alarm, but we do want to make sure you are kept apprised of the most current information.

Thank you—and let’s hope that we, our members, other staff, patients, and clients all stay healthy!

 

Published February 28, 2020