Covid from cat to man: a group of Thai scientists has provided “the first solid proof” of a Covid infection transmitted from feline to man. He reports it ‘Nature’, referring to a study published in recent weeks in ‘Emerging Infectious Diseases’ by a team from the Prince of Songkla University in Hat Yai, southern Thailand. However, experts are keen to point out that these are rare cases, based on research according to which cats infected with Sars-CoV-2 release little virus and for a short time. The invitation is not to abandon the possibly infected animal, but to take care of it.
The discovery happened by accident, explains Sarunyou Chusri, an infectious disease researcher and doctor, co-author of the work. In August, a father and son who tested positive for the pandemic coronavirus were transferred to an isolation ward at the Prince of Songkla University hospital. Their cat, a 10-year-old tabby, was also swabbed and tested positive. During the test, the cat sneezed in front of a vet wearing a mask and gloves, but no eye protection. Three days later the vet developed fever, cold and cough; he later tested positive for Sars-CoV-2, but none of his close contacts developed Covid-19, suggesting that the source of his infection was the cat. The genetic analysis then confirmed that the veterinarian was infected with the same variant that had infected the animal and its owners: the sequences were identical.
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