A cat tested positive for the new CCP virus, Belgian authorities said.
The Epoch Times refers to the novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China before it was transmitted worldwide.
The cat’s owner contracted COVID-19 and the cat “was in direct contact with the owner,” Steven Van Gucht, a virologist who serves as head of the Division of Viral Diseases at Sciensano, the Belgian national institute for public and animal health, told reporters this week.
About a week after the owner developed symptoms of the new disease, the cat showed symptoms including diarrhea, vomiting, and difficulty breathing.
Workers at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Liege discovered the virus in the cat’s feces.
Experts believe the situation was a human-to-animal transmission and consider the risk to humans very small.
“It is an infection that does not pass from animal to human,” Gucht said. Researchers also “have no indication that this is something that often occurs.”
The country’s Federal Food Agency said in an analysis issued after the positive test that CCP virus patients should not come into close contact with their animals and wash their hands after any contact to prevent passing on their infection to their pet.
“Do not let the animal lick your face,” it said.
Relatives or friends can take care of pets if owners have to go to the hospital for care.
The cat that became infected “is now improving,” the agency stated.
The other two pet animals known to test positive for COVID-19 were both dogs in Hong Kong.
Neither dog showed symptoms of the virus. One later died, though it was aging, authorities noted. The dog’s owner blocked officials from conducting an autopsy.
A spokesman for Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries, and Conservation Department said that mammalian pet animals including dogs and cats from households with persons confirmed as infected with COVID-19, or close contacts of patients, should be put under quarantine.
The primary way COVID-19 is believed to spread is from person to person between people in close contact through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Those droplets can land in people’s eyes, nose, or mouth or be inhaled by them.
Touching a contaminated surface and then touching one’s eyes, mouth, or nose is also believed to be a source of transmission.
The origin of the virus has not been confirmed but researchers believe it originated with an animal. Coronaviruses typically circulate in animals but can, in rare cases, jump from animals to humans before spreading from person to person.
Lorenz Duchamps contributed to this report.