Belgian Health Bod Says Woman Infected Cat With COVID

A Belgian woman has infected her cat, the country’s Public Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment body (FPS) has said during a press conference today.

The organisation, which is responsible for guaranteeing public health and a safe environment confirmed the news at its daily press conference about the latest developments concerning the coronavirus (Covid-19).

They did not identify the woman but said that she came from the Belgian city of Liege in the French-speaking part of the country where she had close contact with her pet.

Virologist Professor Steven Van Gucht told local media: “The veterinary medicine faculty in Liège reported that a coronavirus infection has been determined in a cat. The cat lived with her owner, who started showing symptoms of the virus a week before the cat did.”

He added: “The cat had diarrhoea, kept vomiting and had breathing difficulties. The researchers found the virus in the cat’s faeces.” After testing positive it is reported that the cat is now recovering.

Worldwide, it has been highly exceptional for the virus to pass from human to animal. So far, only three cases where the pet has been infected by humans are known across the world.

It concerns two dogs in Hong Kong, and now a cat in Belgium. Both dogs did not show any signs of disease, but the cat has respiratory and digestive disorders, according to the FPS.

The agency creative recommendations now aimed at protecting further infections of animals from humans, and have asked vets to be alert to the possibility that domestic animals might have been infected by humans.

Anyone who is suspicious that the pet might be infected the virus will need to call the vet in advance to make arrangements. The guidelines also advise people infected to limit their contact with pets and when touching them to take care not to infect them.

The FPS added that having pets tested the device was not a priority for the organisation adding “At this time, absolute priority should be given to the use of the tests for humans.”

They said that so far there has not been any proof that the virus could be transferred to humans from animals.

The professor added: “We want to stress that this is an isolated case. Additionally, in this case, we are talking about a human-to-animal transmission, not the other way around.

“There are no indications that this is common. The risk of animal-to-human transmission, is very small.”

The National Council for Animal Protection (CNPA) commenting on the news said “Animals are not vectors of the epidemic, so there is no reason to abandon your animal.”

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They added that people should “respect the usual rules of hygiene” which included frequent hand washing before and after stroking pets and also to not rub nose to nose with the animals.