A DOMESTIC cat has become the UK’s first definite case of an animal testing positive for Covid-19.
“The Chief Veterinary Officer has confirmed that the virus responsible for Covid-19 has been detected in a pet cat in the UK”, the Government announced in a statement issued on Monday.
The statement goes on to explain that the infection was confirmed last Wednesday July 22 following tests at the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) laboratory in Weybridge.
The Government reported that this is the first confirmed case of an animal infection with the coronavirus strain in the country, but stressed, “there is no evidence to suggest that the animal was involved in transmission of the disease to its owners or that pets or other domestic animals are able to transmit the virus to people.”
The most likely scenario according to the statement is that the cat caught the virus from its owners, who had tested positive for Covid-19.
Both the owners and the cat have made full recoveries and no other animals or people living in the home were infected.
The statement points out there have been “a very small number of confirmed cases in pets in other countries in Europe, North America and Asia.”
But the Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss made it clear that these cases are “very rare.”
She also pointed out that infected animals have so far shown only mild clinical signs and have recovered within days.
Medical Director at Public Health England Yvonne Doyle echoed Middlemass’s views, saying, the UK case “should not be a cause for alarm.”
She reminded the public that the Public Health England general advice on fighting coronavirus is to wash hands regularly, including before and after contact with animals.
The UK case has been reported to the World Organisation for Animal Health.