PARIS, France (TND) — A dog belonging to two homosexual French men has contracted monkeypox in what is being called the first confirmed case of human-to-pet infection of the disease.
As The Lancet Medical Journal reports, the non-monogamous gay couple from Paris was infected by monkeypox after having sex with other partners. Their dog, a 4-year-old Italian greyhound, tested positive for monkeypox shortly after his owners were infected, the journal said in a release.
The dog reportedly sleeps in the same bed as his owners and licked his owners before licking himself, which is supposedly how the virus was transmitted between them. The Lancet reports the virus that infected the dog "showed 100% sequence homology" with the virus that infected one of his owners.
To the best of our knowledge, the kinetics of symptom onset in both patients and, subsequently, in their dog suggest human-to-dog transmission of monkeypox virusm" researchers with The Lancet claim. "Given the dog's skin and mucosal lesions as well as the positive monkeypox virus PCR results from anal and oral swabs, we hypothesise a real canine disease, not a simple carriage of the virus by close contact with humans or airborne transmission (or both)."
Our findings should prompt debate on the need to isolate pets from monkeypox virus-positive individuals. We call for further investigation on secondary transmissions via pets," researchers with The Lancet also suggest.
Both dog owners reportedly told researchers that they have been careful to not allow their pet dog to be in contact with other pets or humans since the two men first started showing symptoms of monkeypox. Both men claim to have been isolating the dog for almost two weeks before it started showing symptoms.
Monkeypox has been spreading throughout Europe and America and has been declared a "Public Health Emergency of International Concern" by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Human-to-human transmission of monkeypox virus usually occurs through close contact with the lesions, body fluids, and respiratory droplets of infected people or animals," The Lancet reports. "The possibility of sexual transmission is being investigated, as the current outbreak appears to be concentrated in men who have sex with men and has been associated with unexpected anal and genital lesions."
Though this is reportedly the first case of a domestic animal contracting the monkeypox virus, the Lancet Medical Journal says monkeypox has already been found in wild animals.
In endemic countries, only wild animals (rodents and primates) have been found to carry monkeypox virus," the Lancet Medical Journal explains. "However, transmission of monkeypox virus in prairie dogs has been described in the USA and in captive primates in Europe that were in contact with imported infected animals."
Almost 100 countries have reported cases of monkeypox within their borders this year, CDC data shows. Over a dozen people have reportedly died from the disease.
The CDC now recommends people who have contracted monkeypox avoid close contact with animals. Pets that have not been exposed to the virus should be cared for by friends or family in another home until their owners fully recover, the CDC also says.