A WOMAN infected with coronavirus has passed the killer bug to her CAT, health officials in Belgium revealed today.
The sick moggy had difficulty breathing and COVID-19 was detected in its poo, authorities said – making this the first confirmed case of a pet in Europe having the virus.
A cat in Belgium has caught coronavirus from her owner, health officials said. File pictureCredit: Alamy
Two dogs in Hong Kong were also struck down by coronavirus after contracting it from humans.
In the Belgium case, the woman, who authorities have not identified, lives in the city of Liege, reports the Brussels Times.
Steven van Gucht, of the country’s Institute of Health, said “a coronavirus infection has been determined in a cat.”
He added: “The cat lived with her owner, who started showing symptoms of the virus a week before the cat did.”
Mr Gucht stressed that this is “an isolated case” adding “there are no indications that this is common.”
VIRUS FOUND IN CAT’S POO
“Additionally, in this case, we are talking about a human-to-animal transmission, not the other way around….The risk of animal-to-human transmission, is very small,” he said.
Describing the animal’s symptoms, he said: “The cat had diarrhoea, kept vomiting and had breathing difficulties. The researchers found the virus in the cat’s faeces.
Belgian health authorities said the pet had “transient respiratory and digestive disorders.”
PASSED FROM HUMAN TO ANIMAL
They added that “there is no evidence to date that the virus is being transmitted from pets to humans or other pets.”
However, animal owners in the country who believe their beloved beasts may be infected should contact their vets.
Infected people are also being urged to limit their time with their pets and to wash their hands before and after touching them.
A spokesperson from Belgium’s National Council for Animal Protection said: “The transmission was made from person to the cat, not from cat to person.
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“Let’s not go back to a dark medieval period when ignorant people hunt and kill cats for fear that they will pass on the plague.”
COVID-19 has killed a total of 289 people in Belgium while over 7,000 have contracted the bug.
In the Hong Kong cases, both dogs contracted the virus from their owners – while the first mutt that caught it died just two days after being released from mandatory quarantine on February 26.
The World Organisation for Animal Health has reiterated that there is no evidence to suggest pets can pass the virus to their owners.
A Pomeranian dog tested positive for the coronavirus in Hong Kong after catching it from its owner