A scientific article signed by scientists from the Prince of Songkla University in Thailand identified that a veterinary doctor was probably contaminated with Covid-19 by a cat. The information is from The New York Times. This is the first document that associates the contamination of humans by cats. According to experts, however, the risk of contagion is low.
According to the study, the animal would have been contaminated by one of its two tutors and passed the virus to the veterinarian by sneezing in her face. According to genomic sequencing done on the cat and on the three people, the version of the virus identified was identical. At the time of contamination, this version was not found in the rest of the local population.
According to scientists, a human is more likely to pass Covid-19 to a cat, rather than the other way around.
“But the case is a reminder that people infected with the virus should take precautions with their pets – that veterinarians and shelter workers who may come into contact with infected animals should do the same,” said Scott Weese, a veterinarian at infectious diseases at the University of Guelph in Ontario (Canada).
Previous research had already shown that humans could contaminate their pet cats, and that felines could pass the virus to their colleagues, but proof that the virus could be transmitted from cats to humans under natural conditions had not yet been proven.
Covid contamination by cat in Thailand
In August of last year, a man and his son felt symptoms of Covid-19 in Bangkok. Due to the lack of hospital beds in the city, the two were transferred by ambulance to a hospital located in Songkhla, on a 20-hour journey. For reasons still unclear, their cat went along.
With its guardians hospitalized, the animal was taken to a veterinary hospital. Although healthy-looking, the 32-year-old veterinarian collected nasal and anal samples from the feline, proving that he had Covid-19.
During the examination, the cat ended up sneezing in the doctor’s face. A few days later, she also began to show symptoms of the disease such as cough and fever, and the diagnosis was confirmed after examinations.
The PCR test performed on the cat showed that it had a high viral load at the time of examination.
None of the close contacts of the veterinarian had Covid-19 in the period, and she also had no contact with the cat’s tutors, which supports the thesis that she was contaminated by the animal.
The thesis gained traction after genetic sequencing, which showed that the four had been infected with a version of the Delta variant that did not have much circulation in the city at the time of registration.