Isolate or kill pets, European authorities tell patients
London: Fearing that monkeypox could become endemic across Europe if it crosses over to animals, European health authorities have asked patients infected with the virus to kill or isolate their hamsters, gerbils and guinea pigs. According to data from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, the European Union has confirmed 118 cases of monkeypox. Spain and Portugal have reported the largest outbreaks in the EU with 51 and 37 cases respectively. The UK Health Security Agency has confirmed 90 cases of the virus so far.Also Read – Monkeypox outbreak: ICMR urges people to watch for THESE 5 symptoms. Details inside
Globally, approximately 200 confirmed cases and more than 100 suspected cases of virus infection have been detected in more than 20 countries. Although the natural reservoir of monkeypox is unknown, experts believe it comes from rodents in West and Central Africa, where the disease is endemic. Also Read – Breaking News LIVE: Maharashtra reports 536 new COVID cases, 329 recoveries in past 24 hours
“Rodent pets should ideally be isolated in supervised facilities that comply with respiratory isolation (eg, laboratory) and animal welfare requirements (eg, government facilities, kennels, or organizations animal care), and tested (by PCR) for exposure before quarantine ends,” the ECDC said in a statement. Also Read – Monkeypox Scare in India: Mumbai Civic Corps Prepares Hospital Isolation Ward, Issues Notice
Pet rodents – including hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs and mice – are considered most at risk, as they are known to be susceptible to the disease. Other animals, including dogs and cats, should also be kept indoors – but can self-isolate at home as the chances of contracting the virus are lower, according to a Telegraph report.
Quoting Professor David Robertson, from the Glasgow Virus Research Centre, the publication reported that although the threat of monkeypox passing from humans to pets and wildlife is low, it is a a “valid concern”. If that happened, it would be incredibly difficult to trace the spread of the virus – which could travel back to humans from wildlife, triggering recurring outbreaks.
“This virus has a fairly wide host range, which is always concerning in terms of the potential for establishment in a new host species… it would seem sensible to monitor all animals/pets that infected people are with in touch,” Robertson said. .
Some experts, however, played down the risks. Professor Ian H Brown, head of the virology department at the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), said the threat remained ‘theoretical’, with diseases passing ‘easier’ the other way, from humans To animals.
“There are a lot of uncertainties so (it’s) always prudent in such situations to educate people and mitigate those risks,” he told the Telegraph.
“To date, few animal species have experienced susceptibility to the virus. No pet dog cases have been reported in this event to date or in previous events.