Humans Can Transmit Monkeypox to Our Pets, New Paper Suggests


Humans Can Transmit Monkeypox to Our Pets, New Paper Suggests

French scientists hypothesized that an Italian greyhound caught the virus from the humans he lives with. By Austin Cannon August 16, 2022 Advertisement Pin FB More Tweet Email Send Text Message Print dog with monkey pox
dog with monkey pox Credit: Spoiled Dogs / Getty

French scientists have unearthed evidence that humans can transmit the monkeypox virus to our pets. 

Their research, published last week in The Lancet, centered on a 4-year-old Italian greyhound who seemingly contracted the disease from the humans he lives with in Paris. With this finding, the authors urged "debate" on the need for people with monkeypox to isolate themselves from their pets—something the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends.

The men the Italian greyhound lives with started showing symptoms and visited a Paris hospital in June, researchers wrote. The non-exclusive humans had each had sex with other people, and they endured ulcerations, rashes, headaches, weakness, and fever for days. They both tested positive for monkeypox. 

Between humans, the virus spreads through close physical contact—including, but not limited to, sex—and can also cause respiratory problems. It's very rarely fatal, and vaccines are available.

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Twelve days after the men started showing monkeypox signs, the previously healthy Italian greyhound did, too. He was experiencing lesions, pustules, and ulcerations on different parts of his body. A monkeypox test revealed he had the virus, researchers wrote.

Scientists sequenced the dog's and one of the human's DNA, which showed they were infected with the same version of the virus. They couple also said they slept with the dog, but they'd kept him away from other pets and humans once they started experiencing symptoms. 

"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," the French researchers wrote. 

Additionally, they hypothesized the dog experienced the disease—because of his symptoms—rather than just serving as a carrier. It's why they called for more discussion on whether people with monkeypox should isolate themselves from their pets. 

In the U.S., the CDC recommends "people with monkeypox should avoid contact with animals, including pets." That means abstaining from petting, cuddling, hugging, kissing, sleeping in the same bed, and sharing food with pets. It's the same advice the CDC gives to pet owners who contract COVID-19.  

People with monkeypox can reunite with their pets once they've recovered from the virus, the CDC says. 

If you contract monkeypox and have questions about what you should do with your pets, consult their veterinarian.

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