Health officials are warning people who are infected with monkeypox to stay away from household pets, as the animals could be at risk of catching the virus.
The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has had this guideline in place for months, as monkeypox continues to spread across the country.
But the reminder about the virus's danger to pets gained new attention after a report from France was published in the medical journal Lancet about an Italian greyhound that caught the disease.
The dog belongs to a couple who said they sleep alongside the animal. The two men became infected with monkeypox and wound up with lesions, among other symptoms.
The greyhound later developed lesions and was subsequently diagnosed with the virus.
“Our findings should prompt debate on the need to isolate pets from monkeypox virus-positive individuals,” the authors of the Lancet study concluded. “We call for further investigation on secondary transmissions via pets.”
Monkeypox infections have been detected in rodents and other wild animals, which can spread the virus to humans. But the authors called it the first known monkeypox infection in a domesticated animal.
“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 said in a statement on its website dated August 12.
“Infected people should not take care of exposed pets.”
Domesticated animals may also pick up the virus through blankets or other household items used by patients, the CDC said, and added that if a pet appears to be sick, owners should contact a vet.
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Agencies contributed to this report