Health, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

COVID-19: 'Pet owners should follow hygiene rules'

Pets do not get sick from COVID-19 but they can transmit virus to people, says medical expert

Ismail Sen   | 24.03.2020
COVID-19: 'Pet owners should follow hygiene rules'

ELAZIG, Turkey 

Hygiene rules to protect against coronavirus are also important for pets, a medical expert said on Tuesday.

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that pets have no role in the spread of coronavirus, Mehmet Calicioglu told Anadolu Agency.

Calicioglu, the dean of the Veterinary Science Faculty at Fırat University, advised pet owners to follow hygiene rules to protect from the virus.

The fact that the virus does not infect pets or grow in their bodies does not necessarily mean that they will not mechanically transmit the disease, just like a door handle, he stressed.

"A patient can infect his/her pet dog by sneezing and coughing. The pet does not get sick from it, but then the dog can carry the disease to other people. Apart from this, cats, dogs, birds have no role in spreading the disease," he added.

So following hygiene rules, including washing hands with soap before and after touching them, is essential also for avoiding the spread of the virus from pets during this critical period, the expert said.

Calicioglu also warned that the pets should not be taken to crowded places.

Some diseases are specific to either people or animals, and coronavirus only affects people, but does not harm animals, he noted.

After emerging in Wuhan, China last December, the coronavirus known as COVID-19 has spread to at least 169 countries and regions. The WHO has declared the outbreak a pandemic.

According to data compiled by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University, the number of confirmed cases worldwide is nearly 393,000 and the death toll is now over 17,100, while almost 103,000 have recovered so far.

* Writing by Seda Sevencan in Ankara

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