The World Health Organization confirmed that a dog in Hong Kong has tested “weakly positive” for the COVID-19 coronavirus. Hong Kong scientists aren’t sure if the dog is actually infected or if it simply picked up the virus by licking or nosing a contaminated surface. Swabs of its nasal and oral cavities tested “weak positive,” Hong Kong agriculture officials said.
Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the technical lead of WHO’s emergencies program, said the canine tested “weakly positive,” meaning low levels of the virus were found… “We’re working with them to understand the results, to understand what further testing they are doing and to understand how they are going to care for these animals,” Kerkhove said during a press conference at WHO’s headquarters in Geneva.
The dog reportedly belongs to a 60-year-old woman who developed symptoms on Feb. 12 and later tested positive… As a precaution, the Hong Kong government declared cats, dogs and other domesticated mammals whose owners test positive and are quarantined for COVID-19 would be collected and delivered to a “designated animal keeping” facility for quarantine and veterinary surveillance. Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said the dog doesn’t have any symptoms.
MacDailyNews Note: According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 FAQ:
Q: Should I be concerned about pets or other animals and COVID-19?
A: While this virus seems to have emerged from an animal source, it is now spreading from person-to-person in China. There is no reason to think that any animals including pets in the United States might be a source of infection with this new coronavirus. To date, CDC has not received any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19. At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals including pets can be infected with or spread COVID-19. However, since animals can spread other diseases to people, it’s always a good idea to wash your hands after being around animals. For more information on the many benefits of pet ownership, as well as staying safe and healthy around animals including pets, livestock, and wildlife, visit CDC’s Healthy Pets, Healthy People website.
Q: Should I avoid contact with pets or other animals if I am sick with COVID-19?
A: You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a facemask.