Aug 16, 2022 - Health

CDC updates monkeypox guidance after dog tests positive for virus

Health workers sit at a check-in table at a pop-up monkeypox vaccination clinic on August 3, 2022 in West Hollywood.

Health workers at a pop-up monkeypox vaccination clinic in West Hollywood, Calif., this month. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The CDC updated its monkeypox guidance on pets after a new study reported that a dog tested positive for the virus in France.

Why it matters: Monkeypox infection among domesticated animals, such as dogs and cats, had never previously been reported, note researchers from Sorbonne University in the study, published in The Lancet medical journal.

  • Rosamund Lewis, the World Health Organization's lead on monkeypox, told the Washington Post on Monday the case of the Italian greyhound marked "the first incident that we're learning about where there is human to animal transmission."

Yes, but: Scientists don't know whether the 4-year-old male greyhound in the study or any other dog can transmit the infection to anyone else, per Lewis.

Be smart: "This is an example where most pets will not be at risk. It may only be those who are actually in the household of someone who’s infected," Lewis said.

  • The study calls for further investigation on secondary transmissions via pets, noting: "Our findings should prompt debate on the need to isolate pets from monkeypox virus-positive individuals."

Driving the news: The greyhound in Paris tested positive 12 days after the two men it lived with had first displayed symptoms. The dog's symptoms included lesions and pustules on its abdomen, along with an ulceration, according to the researchers.

  • Medical workers matched the infection of one of the men to the one detected in the dog via DNA analysis.
  • The couple reported co-sleeping with their pet, "but had been careful to prevent their dog from contact with other pets or humans from the onset of their own symptoms," the study notes.
  • "To the best of our knowledge, the kinetics of symptom onset in both patients and, subsequently, in their dog suggest human-to-dog transmission of monkeypox virus," per the study, which was published last week.

What they're saying: "Infected animals can spread Monkeypox virus to people, and it is possible that people who are infected can spread Monkeypox virus to animals through close contact," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states in its guidance.

  • "While we do not know all the symptoms infected animals may have, watch the animal for potential signs of illness including lethargy, lack of appetite, coughing, nasal secretions or crust, bloating, fever, and/or pimple- or blister-like skin rash."

Of note: Monkeypox is transmitted through close, prolonged contact with an infected individual.

  • "In endemic countries, only wild animals (rodents and primates) have been found to carry monkeypox virus," though transmission has been reported in prairie dogs in the U.S. and captive primates in Europe, per the Sorbonne University study.

The big picture: The WHO declared monkeypox a global emergency last month, as it spread to more than 70 countries.

Go deeper... U.K. agency: people with monkeypox should avoid contact with pets

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