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Pet dog becomes first domesticated animal to catch monkeypox after sharing bed with its owners

Rachel Lang

| Last updated 

Pet dog becomes first domesticated animal to catch monkeypox after sharing bed with its owners

A dog in Paris has become the first domestic animal recorded to contract monkeypox after sharing a bed with its owners, who also had the virus.

According to the Telegraph, the two gay men, who were non-monogamous, developed symptoms for the highly infectious disease at the end of June.

The two men had to be hospitalised, where doctors identified their sores as being caused by monkeypox.

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The men, aged 44 and 27, developed the sores over their anal regions and on other parts of their bodies after sleeping with other people.

Twelve days after the two men were admitted to Paris' Pitié-Salpêtrière University Hospital, their pet dog developed similar lesions despite previously being of excellent general health. 

According to peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet, the Italian Greyhound underwent PCR and genetic sequencing, with scientists discovering that the lesions on the dog were a 100 per cent match to the strain that had infected his owners.

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

Monkeypox. Credit: Dotted zebra/Alamy.
Monkeypox. Credit: Dotted zebra/Alamy.

"We call for further investigation on secondary transmissions via pets."

The virus can cause a high temperature, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen glands, shivering and exhaustion. A rash typically appears around one to five days after the first symptoms start to show in the body.

The rash, which is sometimes confused with chickenpox, begins to appear as raised spots before turning into small fluid-filled blisters.

The blisters will eventually scab before falling off. 

The virus can be passed on through coughs and sneezes of a person with the rash, sharing clothing, bedding or towels used by someone with the infection or by touching the monkeypox blisters or scabs - including during sex. 

Pitié-Salpêtrière. Credit: Sueddeutsche Zeitung Photo/Alamy.
Pitié-Salpêtrière. Credit: Sueddeutsche Zeitung Photo/Alamy.

Chief medical adviser for the UK Health Security Agency Dr Susan Hopkins warned in May that people of homosexual and bisexual orientation should be extra-careful.

"The community transmission is largely centred in urban areas and we are predominantly seeing it in individuals who self-identify as gay or bisexual, or other men who have sex with men," she said.

More than 18,000 monkeypox cases have been recorded in 78 countries, with more than 70 per cent of infections in Europe and 25 per cent in the Americas, according to the World Health Organisation.

There have been 70 cases recorded in Australia, as per the Department of Health.

Featured Image Credit: STERKL/Alamy. Brain light/Alamy

Topics: Health, Animals, News

Rachel Lang
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