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Monkeypox – Risk Of Its Transmission From Humans To Pets

The zoonotic virus monkeypox may be transmitted to humans by some species of monkeys and apes.

The infection then spreads from one person to another.

The first probable incidence of human transmission of the monkeypox virus to an animal has been reported in The Lancet.

Doctors recently revealed the first human instance of spreading the virus to a beloved dog at Paris's Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital.

On July 23, 2022, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus designated monkeypox a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

Close contact with lesions, bodily fluids, or respiratory droplets from an infected person or animal is the most common transmission of the monkeypox virus from one individual to another.

Scientists are looking at the possibilities of sexual transmission since the current epidemic seems to be centered on males who have sex with males.

Patients 1 and 2 were tested for the monkeypox virus using a real-time polymerase chain reaction.

Viruses belonging to the hMPXV-1 clade, lineage B, were found in both samples; this strain has been circulating in non-endemic regions since at least 2022.

More than 1700 French people have been affected as of August 4, 2022, with most cases occurring in Paris, where the dog was initially seen with symptoms.

What Is Monkeypox?

Like smallpox, monkeypox is caused by a virus.

Fever, muscular pains, weariness, headaches, back pain, and enlarged lymph nodes may all be symptoms of monkeypox, but they may not be as severe as smallpox.

A person infected with the monkeypox virus will experience fever followed by the appearance of a rash a few days later.

The rash often resembles blisters or pimples and may appear in various places on the body.

It is carried by some animals, such as certain types of monkeys and squirrels.

Monkeypox may be transmitted to humans by animal bites and scratches.

Also, the virus may be transmitted to humans by the consumption of undercooked meat or animal by-products.

Kissing, extended face-to-face contact, and sexual contact are ways via which a person infected with the virus might spread it to others.

One other way that monkeypox may be spread is by contact with soft fabrics that a sick person has used as a pillow or a blanket.

Disease Transmission From Humans To Their Pets

The research found that two male cohabitating patients at Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital were diagnosed with monkeypox by hospital staff.

Symptoms included fever, headaches, and a rash.

The male Italian greyhound was diagnosed with monkeypox 12 days after the first symptoms appeared.

Lesions characteristic of the disease were also seen on the dog.

Patients reported that their canine companion shared their beds with them.

The virus that infected the dog also appeared in the owners' skin lesions, so the doctors apparently tested those samples.

Dr. Richard Silvera, assistant professor of medicine (infectious diseases) at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and associate program director of the Infectious Diseases Fellowship, said that it was not surprised to learn that monkeypox might transfer to a dog.

He reasoned that the same mechanisms that allow for human-to-human transmission of viruses, such as skin-to-skin contact or touching materials worn or slept in by someone with the sickness, would also allow for a transfer from human to animal.

In addition, the American Veterinary Medical Association's president, Dr. Lori Teller, has said that people's other pets, not only dogs, might potentially get monkeypox from their human owners.

Dr. Teller said,

in the United States and other non-endemic locations, a serious worry is the potential for spillover of monkeypox to wildlife from sick humans or domestic animals.

The fear of spreading monkeypox among humans is understandable, but now there is concern that it may be passed on to pets.

What Dr. Silvera described as "the same type of reasoning we're employing for human-to-human transmission" may also be used to animal transmission.

Do not share bedding or linens with anybody, not even a dog or cat, if you have monkeypox and live in a household with other humans or creatures.

If you have an active case of monkeypox, I wouldn't recommend letting them share your bed.

Conclusion

In endemic regions, monkeypox is exclusively carried by wild animals (rodents and primates).

There have been reports of the monkeypox virus spreading to prairie dogs in the United States and captive primates in Europe when they come into contact with imported cases.

No case of infection in dogs, cats, or other common household pets has ever been documented.

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