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    First reported case of a person getting COVID from a cat

    Scientists in Thailand have established that a tabby passed SARS-CoV-2 to a veterinary surgeon — although such cases of cat-to-human transmission are probably rare.

    NEWS 29 June 2022

    First reported case of a person getting COVID from a cat

    Scientists in Thailand have established that a tabby passed SARS-CoV-2 to a veterinary surgeon — although such cases of cat-to-human transmission are probably rare.

    Smriti Mallapaty Twitter Facebook Email

    Cats can catch and transmit SARS-CoV-2.Credit: Vachira Vachira/NurPhoto/Getty

    First there were sneezing hamsters, now sneezing cats. A team in Thailand reports the first solid evidence of a pet cat infecting a person with SARS-CoV-2 — adding felines to the list of animals that can transmit the virus to people.

    Researchers say the results are convincing. They are surprised that it has taken this long to establish that transmission can occur, given the scale of the pandemic, the virus’s ability to jump between animal species, and the close contact between cats and people. “We’ve known this was a possibility for two years,” says Angela Bosco-Lauth, an infectious-disease researcher at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

    Studies early in the pandemic found that cats shed infectious virus particles and can infect other cats. And over the course of the pandemic, countries have reported SARS-CoV-2 infections in dozens of pet cats. But establishing the direction of viral spread — from cat to person or from person to cat — is tricky. The Thai study “is an interesting case report, and a great example of what good contact tracing can do”, says Marion Koopmans, a virologist at the Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

    The feline finding, published in 1 on 6 June, came about by accident, says co-author Sarunyou Chusri, an infectious-disease researcher and physician at Prince of Songkla University in Hat Yai, southern Thailand. In August, a father and son who had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 were transferred to an isolation ward at the university’s hospital. Their ten-year-old cat was also swabbed and tested positive. While being swabbed, the cat sneezed in the face of a veterinary surgeon, who was wearing a mask and gloves but no eye protection.

    Three days later, the vet developed a fever, sniffles and a cough, and later tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, but none of her close contacts developed COVID-19, suggesting that she had been infected by the cat. Genetic analysis also confirmed that the vet was infected with the same variant as the cat and its owners, and the viral genomic sequences were identical.

    Low risk

    Researchers say that such cases of cat-to-human transmission are probably rare. Experimental studies have shown that infected cats don’t shed much virus, and shed for only a few days, says Leo Poon, a virologist at the University of Hong Kong.

    Still, Chusri says it is worth taking extra precautions when handling cats suspected of being infected. People “should not abandon their cats, but take more care of them”, he says.

    Other animals suspected of infecting people include farmed mink in Europe and North America, pet hamsters in Hong Kong and wild white-tailed deer in Canada. Adding cats to the list “expands our understanding of the zoonotic potential of this virus”, says Poon.

    But researchers say these are all rare events and animals don’t yet play a significant part in spreading the virus. “Humans are clearly still the major source of the virus,” says Bosco-Lauth.

    doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-022-01792-y

    References

    Sila, T. 28, 1485–1488 (2022).

    PubMed Article Google Scholar Download references

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    Source : www.nature.com

    Two more coronaviruses can infect people, studies suggest

    Research increases worry about the pandemic potential of other members of the virus family

    SCIENCEINSIDERHEALTH

    Two more coronaviruses can infect people, studies suggest

    Two more coronaviruses can infect people, studies suggest Research increases worry about the pandemic potential of other members of the virus family

    20 MAY 2021BYANTHONY KING

    An electron microscopic image of a new caninelike coronavirus isolated from a child in Malaysia with pneumonia and grown in dog cellsMOLECULAR AND CELLULAR IMAGING CENTER/OHIO AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT CENTER/OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY

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    Science's COVID-19 reporting is supported by the Heising-Simons Foundation.

    Eight children hospitalized with pneumonia in Malaysia several years ago had evidence of infections with a novel coronavirus similar to one found in dogs, a research team reports today. Only seven coronaviruses were previously known to infect people, the latest being SARS-CoV-2, the spark of the COVID-19 pandemic. The discovery of this likely new human pathogen, along with the report of an instance of a coronavirus that appears to have jumped from pigs to people many years ago, could significantly expand which members of the viral family pose another global threat.

    "I think the more we look, the more we will find that these coronaviruses are crossing species everywhere," says Stanley Perlman, a virologist at the University of Iowa who was not involved in the new work.

    The researchers have not definitely linked either new virus to human disease. And there's no evidence that the two new coronaviruses can transmit between people—each infection may have been a dead-end jump into a person from a nonhuman host. But many researchers worry the viruses may evolve that ability within a person or the animals they normally infect. A complete genome sequence of the virus found in one Malaysian patient, reported today in Clinical Infectious Diseases, reveals a chimera of genes from four coronaviruses: two previously identified canine coronaviruses, one known to infect cats, and what looks like a pig virus.

    This is the first report suggesting a caninelike coronavirus can replicate in people, and further studies will need to confirm the ability. The researchers have grown the virus in dog tumor cells but not yet in human cells.

    Unlike with SARS-CoV-2 and other known human coronaviruses, "We don't have any clear evidence that this particular [coronavirus] strain is better adapted to humans because of its spike structure," says veterinary virologist Anastasia Vlasova of Ohio State University (OSU), Wooster, lead author of the study. Human infections from dog coronaviruses may occur "at a much higher frequency than we previously thought," she adds. This particular virus might not transmit between people, but we don't know that for sure, Vlasova cautions.

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    The eight children whose tissue samples Vlasova and her colleagues studied were mainly living in traditional longhouses or villages in rural or suburban Sarawak on Borneo, where they likely had frequent exposure to domestic animals and jungle wildlife. They were among 301 hospitalized pneumonia patients during 2017–18 and the researchers screened their nasopharyngeal samples—tissue from the upper part of the throat—for a large variety of human and nonhuman coronaviruses.

    Standard hospital diagnostics for pneumonia or other respiratory illness would not have detected dog and cat coronaviruses. No one has been looking for these viruses in patients with such illnesses until recently. "These canine and feline coronaviruses are everywhere in the world," Perlman says.

    The entire novel virus sequence from the children's samples most resembles a canine coronavirus. However, the sequence for its spike protein, which attaches to host cell receptors to initiate an infection, is closely related to the spike sequence of canine coronavirus type I and the one for a porcine coronavirus known as transmissible gastroenteritis virus. And one part of the spike protein bears a 97% similarity to the spike of a feline coronavirus.

    This chimera is unlikely to have arisen at once, but instead involved repeat genetic reshuffles between different coronaviruses over time. "This is a mosaic of several different recombinations, happening over and over, when nobody's watching. And then boom, you get this monstrosity," says virologist Benjamin Neuman at Texas A&M University, College Station.

    The animal that actually transmitted the novel virus to the people could have been a cat, pig, dog, "or some wild carnivores," says Vito Martella, a veterinary virologist at the University of Bari in Italy. He plans to screen stored fecal samples from Italian children with acute gastroenteritis to see whether he can find something similar.

    Researchers already knew three canine coronavirus subtypes mix readily with feline and porcine coronaviruses. "What is more surprising is that these [animal] viruses can actually cause disease in a person," Perlman says, because one would expect them to lack some of the genes important for adapting well to people.

    Seven of the eight children whose tissues harbored sequences of the virus were younger than 5 years old, and four of them were infants, mostly from Indigenous ethnic groups. Each was hospitalized for 4 to 7 days and recovered.

    Source : www.science.org

    Scientists identify first case of cat infecting human with Covid

    Findings came about by accident after cat sneezed on vet at university

    The Independent

    Scientists identify first case of cat infecting human with Covid

    Samuel Lovett

    Wed, 29 June 2022, 4:22 pm·2-min read

    Palestinian artist Khulud al-Desouki pets a cat during lockdown at home in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip (AFP via Getty Images)

    Scientists have identified the first apparent case of a human catching Covid from a cat.

    A new study documented evidence that a vet in Thailand contracted the virus from an infected pet cat last year.

    Earlier research has shown cats shed infectious virus particles and can infect other felines, but this is first documented case of suspected cat-to-human transmission.

    The study was written by scientists at Thailand’s Prince of Songkla University and outlined how the discovery came about by accident.

    In August 2021, a father and son who had tested positive for Covid were taken by ambulance to an isolation ward at the university hospital. For reasons that are unclear, the pair brought their 10-year old cat with them.

    When the men were admitted to the hospital, the cat was sent to a veterinary hospital for an examination. While being swabbed, the cat sneezed in the face of a veterinary surgeon, who was wearing a mask and gloves but no eye protection.

    Days later, the veterinarian developed symptoms and subsequently tested positive for Covid, but none of her close contacts appeared to contract the infection.

    Genomic sequencing confirmed that the cat and all three people were infected with an identical version of the virus, which was not widespread in the local population at the time.

    “The identical Sars-CoV-2 genome sequences obtained from patient A and the sequences derived from the cat and its 2 owners, together with the temporal overlapping of the animal and human infections, indicated that their infections were epidemiologically related,” the authors of the paper wrote.

    “Cats are known to be susceptible to Sars-CoV-2 infection … Because infected cats have relatively short incubation and contagious periods, this cat probably had acquired its Sars-CoV-2 infection no longer than a week before possibly transmitting the disease to patient A.

    “In summary, we have provided evidence that cats can transmit the Sars-CoV-2 infection to humans. However, the incidence of this transmission method is relatively uncommon.”

    The paper was published in the Emerging Infectious Diseases journal.

    Dr Scott Weese, an infectious diseases veterinarian at the University of Guelph in Ontario, said the research makes a strong case for cat-to-human transmission.

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