Scientists Scanning Family Pets for COVID-19

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By JoNel Aleccia, Kaiser Well being Information

Wednesday, November 04, 2020 (Kaiser Information) — As COVID-19 circumstances surge within the U.S., one Texas veterinarian has been quietly monitoring the unfold of the illness — not in individuals, however of their pets.

Since June, Dr. Sarah Hamer and her group at Texas A&M College have examined tons of of animals from space households the place people contracted COVID-19. They’ve swabbed canines and cats, positive, but additionally pet hamsters and guinea pigs, on the lookout for indicators of an infection. “We’re open to all of it,” stated Hamer, a professor of epidemiology, who has discovered no less than 19 circumstances of an infection.

One pet that examined optimistic was Phoenix, a 7-year-old part-Siamese cat owned by Kaitlyn Romoser, who works in a college lab. Romoser, 23, was confirmed to have COVID-19 twice, as soon as in March and once more in September. The second time she was a lot sicker, she stated, and Phoenix was her fixed companion.

“If I’d have identified animals have been simply getting it in all places, I’d have tried to distance myself, however he won’t distance himself from me,” Romoser stated. “He sleeps in my mattress with me. There was completely no social distancing.”

Throughout the nation, veterinarians and different researchers are scouring the animal kingdom for indicators of the virus that causes COVID-19. At the very least 2,000 animals within the U.S. have been examined for the coronavirus for the reason that pandemic started, in response to federal information. Cats and canines that have been uncovered to sick homeowners characterize many of the animals examined and 80% of the optimistic circumstances discovered.

However scientists have solid a large web investigating different animals that may very well be in danger. In states from California to Florida, researchers have examined species starting from farmed minks and zoo cats to sudden critters like dolphins, armadillos and anteaters.

The U.S. Division of Agriculture retains an official tally of confirmed animal COVID circumstances that stands at a number of dozen. However that listing is an enormous undercount of precise infections. In Utah and Wisconsin, as an illustration, greater than 14,000 minks died in current weeks after contracting COVID infections initially unfold by people.