Between ten and 15 per cent of cats tested for coronavirus in Wuhan — ground-zero for the Covid-19 pandemic — had caught the disease, according to a new study.
The findings comes as researchers try and work out what risk the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which causes Covid-19 as well as the hyperinflammatory condition MIS-C in children, poses to pets.
Blood samples taken from more than 100 felines between January and March in the Chinese city reveal the pets likely caught the virus from humans.
Researchers advise that Covid-19 patients should quarantine themselves away from their companion animals, such as cats and dogs, to prevent spreading the disease.
None of the cats that were infected with SARS-CoV-2 in this study showed symptoms, but it is believed the virus can be deadly to pets.
According to public records in the US, there are only 17 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in pet cats.
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Between ten and 15 per cent of cats tested in a Wuhan study — ground-zero for the Covid-19 pandemic — caught the coronavirus. The findings comes as researchers try and find what risk the SARS-CoV-2 coronaviru poses to pets (stock)
But the latest findings out of Wuhan, by researchers at Huazhong Agricultural University, indicate the level of infection in companion animals is likely much higher.
Researchers took blood samples from 141 cats in total - 102 after the COVID-19 outbreak and 39 prior to the disease emerging, for comparison.
Of the 102 that had blood taken, as well as anal and nasal swabs, 46 cats came from three animal shelters, 41 were from five pet hospitals, and 15 were from a household where at least one member of the family was known to have Covid-19.
COVID-19 antibodies were found in 15 (14.7 per cent) cats and 11 (10.8 per cent) had SARS-CoV-2 neutralising antibodies.
The three cats with the most antibodies to the virus were owned by a human who had Covid-19, the scientist reveal.
Like other studies looking at transmission of the coronavirus from one species to another, this paper is observational and is therefore unable to conclusively prove that cats infect humans, or vice-versa.
Researchers advise that Covid-19 patients should quarantine themselves away from their companion animals, such as cats and dogs, to prevent spreading the disease. None of the cats that were infected with SARS-CoV-2 in this study showed symptoms but it