The Truth About Coronavirus Disease In Humans And Pets

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the Coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern. This is a rarely given designation from the WHO, and reason for the global population to take note. Coronavirus disease is a serious health hazard, able to pass between people and animals by way of tiny water droplets in the air we breathe.

If you are concerned about your own health and the health of your pet, you are not alone.

More than 14,000 cases of Coronavirus disease have been documented in Wuhan, China, since the outbreak began in December 2018 near a a large animal and seafood market. Containment of the disease has been imperative. Even though there has been only one reported death due to Coronavirus outside of China, the WHO acknowledges “the potential for this virus to spread to other countries with weaker health systems which are ill-prepared to deal with it.”

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Coronavirus disease has sent thousands to the hospital with potentially fatal symptoms.


WHAT IS CORONAVIRUS DISEASE

Coronavirus disease is a highly infectious intestinal infection that can be contracted by humans and pets alike. Some strains of the disease have passed between species, while others cannot. The disease does not last long in the host body but it does cause considerable pain and abdominal discomfort while active, often leading to death.

The name “coronavirus” was first given to the disease when scientists discovered its shape under an electron microscope. The virus appears as a ring, circled by small “ornaments,” much like a coronet.

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The disease is thought to have originated in a fish and animal market in Wuhan, China.


WHERE DID CORONAVIRUS DISEASE COME FROM?

We still aren’t sure where the coronavirus originated, through it’s been linked to unsanitary conditions in the global wildlife trade, much of which originates from east China coast. Only 27 of the first 41 people affected by the disease had visited the animal and fish market in Wuhan, the Lancet reports.

The Wall Street Journal reports that researchers are using models developed while researching the SARS and MERS diseases, which were also accelerated by animal carriers.

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The disease is passed through saliva or tiny water droplets in the air we breathe.


HOW IS CORONAVIRUS DISEASE PASSED AROUND?

Researchers at Imperial College London maintain that the average Coronavirus-infected individual will pass the virus on to at least two-and-a-half others. In contrast, someone infected with the measles is likely to pass the disease on to 12 to 18 others.

According to VCA Hospitals, “Most cases of canine coronavirus are contracted by oral contact with infected fecal matter. A dog may also become infected by eating from contaminated food bowls or by direct contact with an infected dog.”

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In kitten, coronavirus disease can lead to death about 5 to 10% of the time.


ARE PETS IN DANGER OF CONTRACTING CORONAVIRUS DISEASE?

Technically, yes. Your animals can be infected with coronavirus disease, however it is not the current strain that has put the world on alert.

According to Al Jazeera, there have been no cases of dogs or cats being infected with the new coronavirus. Moreover, simply washing your hands after touching an animal may be enough to kill the microorganisms that potentially carry the disease.

Many animals are vulnerable to coronavirus, the Mercury News reports, “but it’s not the scary one. And they can’t give it you.”

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So far, pets have not contracted the new coronavirus disease, nor passed it on to their humans.

In most cases, the disease causes diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain for a short period before it passes. Dogs are also susceptible to a respiratory form of the disease, which can cause coughing, sneezing, and increased mucus production.

Coronavirus is slightly more concerning when passed on to cats. Like in dogs and other larger animals, the disease may appear as flu-like symptoms before citrons its course. In 5 to 10% of infected cats, however, coronavirus disease can advance to Feline Infectious Peritonitis, which is almost always leads to death.

As of yet, there have been zero cases of pets contracting the new coronavirus disease, and zero cases of pets passing on the disease to their humans.

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Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.
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