Patients should avoid contact with their pets

New recommendation from the National Health Safety Agency (Anses) about this new virus that is panicking some people: monkeypox. When a person is infected with the smallpox virus, they should avoid maximum contact with their pet.

Following the increase in the number of people infected with the virus in many countries outside the endemic African areas, including France, Anses was seized in an emergency on the issue of transmission to pets.

In the state of knowledge, lagomorphs, such as rabbits or hares, are receptive and sensitive to experimental conditions, especially rabbits.
Squirrels, including squirrels and prairie dogs, appear to be a receptive and sensitive family, possibly the most at risk of human contamination. However, the possession and sale of these animals are not allowed in France.

Pet rodents, such as brown rats, mice, guinea pigs or even hamsters, appear to be unresponsive to the virus in adulthood. Data are missing for ferrets and dogs. Regarding cats, only one serological study exists with negative results. At this stage, no clinical cases have been reported in these three species.

It is recommended to keep the son of the animal

In view of these data, when a person is infected with the smallpox virus, Anses recommends “avoiding contact between the animal and the infected person as much as possible, ideally by having another animal kept by another person during ‘isolation’. And, “before each contact with her pet,” she advises “washing her hands and then wearing gloves and a disposable mask.” Pending further data on the sensitivity and receptivity of pets, “the utmost vigilance” is also recommended for veterinarians received in consultation with animals, the owner of which is symptomatic.

By the end of 2022, a new expertise will complete these first elements. It will focus on assessing the risk of transmission of the virus to peri-domestic wildlife (including rodents). The assessment of the risk of importation of the virus through contaminated animals is carried out.

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