11 Sep CDC: Minks, ferrets highly susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infections
Mink farms continue to be a hot spot for SARS-CoV-2 infections, according to an update shared with veterinary organizations by the CDC COVID-19 One Health Working Group on September 8.
The CDC shared updates on domestic and global animal cases of SARS-CoV-2. Based on current research and testing, minks and ferrets are highly susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infections, with mink farms continuing to be virus hot spots. Sixty-five mink farms in four countries have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 infections including the Netherlands, Denmark, Spain, and the United States.
Other animals that appear to be highly susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infections based on published or pre-print articles include cats, big cats, golden hamsters, non-human primates, tree shrews, deer mice, and rabbits.
As of September 7, 71 animals from 12 countries have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.
- 38 cats
- 25 dogs
- 4 tigers
- 3 lions
- 1 puma
Forty-one of the 71 animals that have tested positive have been from the United States.
- 17 cats
- 17 dogs
- 4 tigers
- 3 lions
When looking at data from 32 companion animals with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections, the CDC says that most pets (53%) have not shown clinical signs of illness. Clinical signs that have been reported in symptomatic pets have included respiratory signs such as coughing, sneezing, and nasal or ocular discharge as well as non-specific signs such as fever, lethargy, and inappetence. To date, there have been a few reports of gastrointestinal signs, typically combined with respiratory signs.
Despite the fact that animals can carry SARA-CoV-2 infections, the CDC does not believe that animals are playing a significant role in the continued spread of the virus. The CDC reiterated the following key messages regarding animals and SARS-CoV-2:
- There is no evidence that animals are playing a significant role in the spread of COVID-19
- There is no evidence that viruses can spread to people from the skin, fur, or hair of pets
- The risk of animals (including pets) spreading COVID-19 to people is considered low
- If you are sick, you should restrict contact with pets and other animals
- Routine testing for SARS-CoV-2 infections in pets is not recommended at this time
- There is no specific treatment for pets with SARS-CoV-2
CDC guidance for veterinarians can be found online on the CDC website here.
CVMA will continue to participate in informational calls with the CDC COVID-19 One Health Working Group and will share additional updates and information as it becomes available.