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The first animal to test positive for Covid-19 in the UK is a cat

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UK’s Chief Veterinary Officer reveals that UK now has its first animal to test positive for the Covid-19, and it is a cat. But all is not bad because the cat, as well as its owners have fully recovered from the novel coronavirus.

A press release from the government of UK stated that the feline’s infection was confirmed on July 22 by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) laboratory located at Weybridge, England.

The UK Government Confirms

The government revealed that this was “the first confirmed case of an animal infection with the coronavirus strain in the UK.” However, they also said that no evidence could be produced that the cat transmitted the virus to the owners.

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Initially, the cat was diagnosed with a feline herpes virus by a private veterinary practitioner, which is a common respiratory infection among felines. But the cat was tested for SARS-CoV-2 as part of an ongoing research program. APHA conducted follow up tests to confirm that the cat had SARS-CoV-2, which in humans manifests as Covid-19.

SARS-CoV-2 in animals: A Rare Event

The detection of SARS-CoV-2 in an animal was termed as a rare event by Christine Middlemiss, the Chief Veterinary Officer. She added that infected animals that have been detected till date show only mild clinical signs and usually recovery in a few days.

Medical Direction for Public Health England, Yvonne Doyle, assured that this should not be viewed as a cause for alarm since there is no evidence that the disease could be transmitted to humans from pets.

This view is also shared by other animal health experts.

“It has been clear for a while that cats are susceptible to infection, but there is no evidence that they can go on to infect humans,” explains James Wood, HOD of veterinary medicine at the University of Cambridge. He further adds that only a handful of animals “have been found to be infected around the world.”

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