First known cat infected with coronavirus reported in Belgium
A cat in Belgian has tested positive for the coronavirus after catching the potentially deadly bug from an infected owner, officials said Friday.
The sick pet in Liège tested positive after showing classic symptoms of COVID-19 — including difficulty breathing — a week after its owner first fell sick, health officials told a press conference, the Brussels Times reports.
While it is the first known infection of a cat, two dogs in Hong Kong have previously tested positive — with the first, a 17-year-old Pomeranian, dying after returning home from quarantine.
“The cat had diarrhea, kept vomiting and had breathing difficulties. The researchers found the virus in the cat’s feces,” professor Steven Van Gucht said Friday, according to the outlet.
No information was given on the conditions of either the cat or its owner, the Brussels Times said.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization insists that there is “no evidence that a dog, cat or any pet can transmit COVID-19” to humans.
Van Gucht also stressed that the Liège case appeared to be the owner getting her pet sick.
“We want to stress that this is an isolated case,” he said, according to the Belgian newspaper. “The risk of animal-to-human transmission is very small.”
Belgium’s National Council for Animal Protection (CNPA) also told the paper that there is no known threat from pets.
“Animals are not vectors of the epidemic, so there is no reason to abandon your animal,” the agency said — while advising owners to “not rub their nose against their pets.”
As well as the cat, 7,284 people have been confirmed infected with coronavirus in Belgium, with almost 300 deaths, officials also said at the press conference.
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