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According to a recent study published in Nature, scientists in Thailand have established that cats can actively transfer COVID-19 to humans. This was confirmed when a veterinary surgeon contracted the SARS CoV-2 virus infection from a tabby cat.
Feral cats are often considered to be an active vector for covid-19 infections among their species but a cat-to-human transfer is extremely rare.
But this recent study has put cats in the first seats of active vectors which can serve as potential carriers for COVID-19 or other serious infections. The Thai team has then added cats to the list of zoonotic carriers which can actively spread the virus among humans.
Considering the scale of pandemics, the researchers have also commented on the potential wild spread of viruses thanks to these carriers.
Marion Koopmans who is a virologist from Erasmus University Medical Centre in Rotterdam said that “an interesting case report, and a great example of what good contact tracing can do”
Angela Bosco Lauth who is an infectious disease researcher at Colorado State University in Fort Collins says that “We’ve known this was a possibility for two years,”
The current study’s evidence is based on the case when a ten-year-old cat sneezed in the face of a veterinary surgeon. The surgeon was wearing a mask but his eyes were uncovered and the spit must have transmitted into the eyes. The cat was previously tested positive after his owner and his son were tested positive for the case. Both father and son were then transferred to an isolation ward in August.
The vet contracted the symptoms of the disease after three days. The prominent synonyms were fever, sniffles, and a cough. The chances of the vet contracting the virus from the cat are high because none of her colleagues and close friends had it.
Furthermore, it was also confirmed later on through genetic analysis and identical genome sequencing that the vet had the same variant as that of the cat and its owners.