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The U.K government’s Chief Veterinary Officer has confirmed the virus responsible for COVID-19 has been found in a domesticated cat.
Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) confirmed the infection following laboratory tests in Weybridge, Surrey, on July 22.
The government has reassured the public that ‘there is no evidence to suggest the animal was involved in the transmission of the disease to its owners – or that pets or other domestic animals can transmit the virus to people.’
‘A very rare event’
In an online statement, Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss said: “This is a very rare event with infected animals detected to date only showing mild clinical signs and recovering within a few days.
“There is no evidence to suggest that pets directly transmit the virus to humans. We will continue to monitor this situation closely and will update our guidance to pet owners should the situation change.”
Not a ’cause for alarm’
Medical Director at Public Health England Yvonne Doyle said the news should not be a ’cause for alarm’.
She added: “The investigation into this case suggests the infection was spread from humans to animals, and not the other way round. At this time, there is no evidence that pets can transmit the disease to humans.
“In line with the general advice on fighting coronavirus, you should wash your hands regularly, including before and after contact with animals.”