Washington study to examine COVID-19 transmission between humans and their companion animals
UW’s Center for One Health Research, Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab (WADDL) and WSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine are launching one of the first studies to examine COVID-19 transmission between humans and their companion animals.
Corona viruses are found in multiple animal species and can be zoonotic (transmitted between animals and humans). The SARS CoV2 virus that causes COVID19 is believed to have jumped to humans from a bat reservoir via an intermediate animal host. What is unclear is whether animals in close contact with human COVID19 patients could be involved in the spread of the virus. Isolated reports of dogs and cats testing positive, limited experimental studies documenting successful infection of cats and ferrets, as well as the recent report of an infected tiger in the Bronx zoo have raised concerns about the possible transmission of COVID between infected persons and pets sharing households.
The study will enroll positive COVID-19 patients living in Seattle-King County with animals that live in the home; including dogs, cats, ferrets and hamsters. A one-time, on-line survey will collect information on household health and animal contact followed by a visit to the home for nasal and oropharyngeal swabs, and a small blood sample. If the animal is found positive, weekly follow up samples will continue until the animal has a negative result.
Participation in this study is voluntary, all information will be kept strictly confidential, and no identifiable information about individual’s household or test results will be released. Just as with human COVID-19 cases, all positive test results from an animal will be reported to Washington State officials for public health surveillance. We will provide the best practice recommendations from the CDC regarding COVID-19 and household animals, which include ensuring the animal stays in the home.
Posted May 8, 2020