Health Corona virus: can my infected pet infect me?

Corona virus: can my infected pet infect me?

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02/21/2020

Dog, cat and co
Corona virus: can my infected pet infect me?

Photo: iStock / Mary Violet

Can cats and dogs infect us with the corona virus? Probably not – but this question still needs to be answered in more detail.

The fear of the corona virus is increasing – and wildest rumors are already circulating on social media. One of them: dogs and cats can transmit the virus. Thats not right. We clarify.

The novel coronavirus Sars-CoV-2, which is currently circulating mainly in China and has already killed over 2,000 people there due to the resulting lung disease Covid-19, has also arrived in Germany. 16 people were infected by a business traveler – 13 of them are healthy again. Nevertheless, there is a lot of misinformation and scaremongering, especially on social media. The rumor persists, Pets could transmit the corona virus, Here, however, you have to look closely. That’s not the way it is.


Pets and the Corona Virus: It depends on the type


First of all, it must be made clear: there is more than one type of corona virus. This group of viruses has been known for a very long time, and the Sars wave that was rampant in China at the time in 2002/03 was also due to corona viruses. The novel virus, known as Sars-CoV-2, which triggers the currently circulating Covid-19 disease, may originate from bats and, according to experts, may have been transmitted to humans via an animal intermediate host, for example as food. Infection from person to person is also possible, as is now known.




In addition, there is the announcement that Chinese authorities have allegedly called for their pets to be left behind during the evacuation, allegedly also due to a risk of infection. However, this has not been proven. A rumor was born.

And indeed: further voices were heard. There is already a corona virus in Germany, which can affect dogs and cats, for example. Veterinarian Tina Hölscher from aktion tier eV comments on this in a press release: According to this, there is a special corona virus, that is, a completely different species that belongs to the Coronaviridae family, but differs from the Sars-CoV-2 that we have Animal populations have been rampant for years. However, this is host-specific and is not transferable to humans.


According to the WHO, Sars-CoV-2 does not apply to dogs and cats


However, when it comes to the Sars-CoV-2, which is dangerous for humans, the pathogen currently known as “coronavirus”, the World Health Organization gives the all-clear. So far, there is no evidence that pets, including dogs and cats, can be infected with the virus.

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However, it is always a good idea to wash your hands well with soap and water after having had contact with pets. This also protects against various common bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella, which can be exchanged between animals and humans. And these in turn can actually cause illness.


So: No cuddling, but you should wash your hands regularly. This is a good idea right now, also with regard to the influenza wave. You can find out how in the video:


Wash your hands properly

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Dr. RTL also confirms that there is no danger before Sars-CoV-2 is transmitted via pets. Christian Voigt from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) in Berlin. He points out that herpes or flu viruses can have an impact on pets.


You should still protect yourself in this country from wild animals, such as stray dogs and cats, and not get too close to them if they behave conspicuously. But that is more due to rabies viruses: “If you find wild animals with behavioral problems, you should keep your distance and do not touch them or call experts, such as on the wild district phone in Berlin, to then deal with these animals,” advises Voigt.


By the way, you can also read from us what the current situation is worldwide and what is new about the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus. We also provide information on how you can protect yourself against the corona virus. Stay healthy!



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