(CMR) The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has advised people infected with monkeypox to avoid close contact with their pets after news emerged that a dog in France caught the virus after sleeping with its owners.
Scientists said in a paper published in The Lancet medical journal that they found evidence of human-to-dog transmission of monkeypox.
In the case, a 4-year-old Italian greyhound reportedly developed lesions and tested positive for monkeypox 12 days after its owners first showed symptoms. The owners are two male partners who live together but are not sexually exclusive.
“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,” the researchers said.
In countries where monkeypox is endemic, wild animals, including rodents and primates, can carry the virus, but this is the first time a reported case has happened in domestic dogs or cats.
Researchers said there's a need for further investigation into secondary monkeypox transmission through pets.
“Our findings should prompt debate on the need to isolate pets from monkeypox virus-positive individuals,” they wrote.
The World Health Organization declared the monkeypox virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on June 23. The US also declared it a public health emergency.
While a high percentage of those who have monkeypox are men who have sex with men, officials have warned that the virus does not only spread among gay men.
CDC reported that, through July 22, 99% of cases in the US were among men, 94% of whom reported recent sexual contact with males. WHO has reported that 98.7% of confirmed cases globally are in males. Of the cases with information about sexual partners, 97.2% are in men who have sex with men.
Health officials have also dispelled the myth that COVID-19 vaccines cause monkeypox. The monkeypox virus was first identified in humans in 1970 and has since become endemic in 11 nations in western and central Africa. The 2022 outbreak began as early as April in the UK.