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Owners Spread Monkeypox to Their Dog, CDC Warns of Human-to-Animal Transmission

People logo People 8/15/2022 Vanessa Etienne

Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regner/CDC via AP Monkeypox virions © Provided by People Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regner/CDC via AP Monkeypox virions

A dog has tested positive for monkeypox in the first confirmed case of a human-to-pet infection, according to new reports.

The Lancet Medical Journal detailed the case invovling male partners, ages 44 and 27, who live in the same residence and contracted the virus after having sexual contact with other people. On June 10, the French couple reported symptoms including lesions, fever, and headaches.

Twelve days later, their 4-year-old Italian greyhound developed similar lesions and later tested positive for monkeypox. Though the men were "careful" to prevent their dog from any contact with other pets or humans, the men reported co-sleeping with the dog in their home, which researchers believe resulted in transmission.

"Our findings should prompt debate on the need to isolate pets from monkeypox virus-positive individuals," the report states.

RELATED: Can Monkeypox Spread Through Objects like Doorknobs? An Expert Explains as U.S. Cases Surpass 6,500


Video: Monkeypox transmitting rapidly, declared public health emergency, White House says (USA TODAY)

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RELATED: WHO Declares Monkeypox Outbreak a Public Health Emergency of 'International Concern'

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that people with monkeypox should avoid contact with animals, including pets, domestic animals and wildlife to prevent spreading the virus.

If an individual has tested positive for monkeypox and has not had close contact with their pet, owners are urged to place the pet in the care of friends or family until they have fully recovered.

"Pets that had close contact with a symptomatic person with monkeypox should be kept at home and away from other animals and people for 21 days after the most recent contact," the CDC states. "Infected people should not take care of exposed pets."

Monkeypox spreads primarily through skin-to-skin contact, direct contact with bodily fluids or lesions, and can also be transmitted by respiratory droplets. 

Last month, the World Health Organization declared the monkeypox outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern. As of Friday, there are 31,799 confirmed cases across 89 countries.

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