What do you need to know about coronavirus?
Published on February 28, 2020
(Image courtesy of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Friday, February 28, brought new developments related to the novel coronavirus first identified in China, including news that a dog in Hong Kong was quarantined after samples obtained from its nasal cavity and mouth tested “weak positive” for the virus that causes COVID-19. The dog’s owner has tested positive for the virus SARS-CoV-2, formerly called 2019-nCoV, and has COVID-19.
The implications of a “weak positive” test result are unclear, and it’s unknown if the presence of the virus is due to infection, environmental contamination, cross-reactivity, or even potential issues with the test itself. Hong Kong officials said the dog showed no clinical signs of illness, has been quarantined and is being cared for, and will continue to be monitored and tested to determine its status.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), no animals in the United States have been identified with the virus, and there is no evidence that dogs or other pets can contract or spread COVID-19.
Supply chain issues
The COVID-19 outbreak has raised concern about potential medical supply issues, including both pharmaceuticals and medical products such as personal protective equipment. No current shortages are reported by any of the 32 animal drug companies that make finished drugs or source active pharmaceutical ingredients in China for the U.S. market, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, six of the firms have indicated that they see supply chain disruptions that soon could lead to shortages.
The FDA said it is working with these firms to identify interventions to mitigate potential shortages, and has done similar work on the medical product/device side. The agency is sharing information on its website about the availability of drugs and medical supplies.
The AVMA is supporting the FDA’s efforts by gathering information about drug needs and related concerns from veterinarians, practices/practice groups, and veterinary distributors. Please email us with information about any supply chain issues of concern at [email protected] Include detailed information about the product of concern and its manufacturer/distributor if possible.
Health officials across the U.S. remain on high alert due to COVID-19, and veterinary professionals might receive questions about the virus from other staff members and clients. Here’s what veterinary professionals need to know about the SARS-CoV-2 virus and COVID-19:
Right now, the primary concern is for human health. The virus causes flu-like symptoms in people, including mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.
At this time, experts have not expressed concern about transmission to or from animals. Multiple international health organizations have indicated that pets and other domestic animals are not considered at risk for contracting COVID-19.
As always, animal owners should continue to include pets and other animals in their emergency preparedness planning, including keeping a two-week supply of food and medications on hand.
The COVID-19 outbreak began in Wuhan City, Hubei province, China.
Initial reports implicated a seafood and animal market in Wuhan City, but person-to-person spread has been indicated in numerous countries.
There is no antiviral agent proven to be effective against this disease, and there is no immunization available.
The immediate health risk to the general public in the U.S. is still considered low, although the CDC considers the virus a very serious public health threat.
The coronavirus responsible for COVID-19 is designated SARS-CoV-2 (formerly 2019-nCoV).
The CDC is tracking updated information about COVID-19 cases worldwide and in the United States.
The U.S. State Department has issued the following travel advisories referring to COVID-19: Level 4: Do not travel for China and Iran; Level 3: Reconsider travel for Mongolia and South Korea; and Level 2: Exercise increased caution for Italy, Japan, Hong Kong, and Macau.
Looking for more information?
Find more information about 2019-nCoV and its impact on the CDC, World Health Organization (WHO), and World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) websites. These pages may be of additional interest:
Symptoms of 2019-nCOV
How it spreads
Prevention and treatment
Frequently asked questions
U.S. State Department travel information
Person-to-person transmission study
WHO: Rolling updates, situation reports, Q&A, and more