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On June 10, two men, ages 44 and 27, visited a hospital in Paris. The men are “non-exclusive partners living in the same household,” according to an Aug. 10 Lancet study detailing the case. In the 44-year-old, anal ulceration was followed by a vesiculopustular rash on the face, ears, and leg. In the 27-year-old, vesiculopustular rashes were seen on the legs and the back.
Both men developed headaches, fever, and asthenia four days after developing the rash. They were diagnosed with monkeypox. After 12 days from symptom onset, their four-year-old male Italian greyhound that had no medical disorders showed mucocutaneous lesions and soon tested positive for the monkeypox virus as well.
The men were co-sleeping with the dog. After the onset of their own symptoms, the men kept the dog from coming into contact with other pets or humans.
“Given the dog’s skin and mucosal lesions as well as the positive monkeypox virus PCR results from anal and oral swabs, we hypothesize a real canine disease, not a simple carriage of the virus by close contact with humans or airborne transmission (or both),” the study said.
“Our findings should prompt debate on the need to isolate pets from monkeypox virus-positive individuals.” The study called for further investigation into the secondary transmission of monkeypox via pets.
Spreading Via Pets
In the study, researchers also noted that only wild animals like primates and rodents have been discovered carrying the monkeypox virus in endemic nations. In the United States, transmission in prairie dogs has been documented.
In Europe, captive primates that came into contact with imported infected animals have been found with the virus. However, monkeypox infection among domesticated animals like cats and dogs has “never been reported,” the study said.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is possible for infected humans to spread the monkeypox virus to animals by sharing sleeping areas, sharing food, petting, hugging, kissing, cuddling, and licking. Infected animals can also spread the virus to human beings.
In late May, the UK Health Security Agency warned monkeypox patients to avoid contact with their pets for a period of 21 days.
“The worry is the virus could get into domestic animals and essentially ping-pong between them and humans,” said professor Lawrence Young, a virologist at the University of Warwick, according to BBC.
“If you are not careful you might create an animal reservoir for the disease that could result in it spreading back into humans, and we’ll be in a loop of infection.”
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