“The current covid-19 pandemic is being sustained through human-to-human transmission. Animal infections with SARS-CoV-2 have been reported by several countries, with several animal species proven to be susceptible to SARS-CoV- infection. 2 naturally or by experimental infection “, reads a document released today by the DGAV, supported by technical guidelines from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
In this information, DGAV noted that, according to experimental studies, pigs and birds are not susceptible to infection, noting that further studies are needed to understand how different animal species can be affected by the virus.
For this directorate-general “it is important to monitor infections in animals” to understand the impact on animal, human health and biodiversity.
However, DGAV stressed that epidemiological assessments, studies and investigations “do not suggest that live animals or animal products play any role in infection” by SARS-CoV-2.
The species with a high susceptibility to experimental infection are ferrets, Egyptian fruit bat, golden Syrian hamsters and monkeys.
Domestic cats, in turn, have a high susceptibility to experimental or natural infection, while tigers, lions, mink and mink show a high vulnerability to natural infection.
Finally, dogs were found to have a low sensitivity to natural and experimental infection.
As for transmission, cats, ferrets, hamsters and Egyptian fruit bats can transmit the virus among the species itself, while tigers and lions can pass the infection between animals and mink and mink between animals and “eventually animals and humans “.
The document also revealed that pigs, poultry and dogs do not transmit the virus.
“Information on transmission chains of SARS-CoV-2 between animals is limited. However, as with other respiratory viruses, it appears to be transmitted to animals and between animals by direct contact,” he stressed.
The incubation period in animals, in laboratory environments, “appears to be similar to that observed in humans” – between two and 14 days -, and those infected have the presence of the virus in the respiratory system and, in some cases, lesions in the trachea and lungs.
The DGAV also pointed to the existence of sporadic reports of infection in companion and wild animals in captivity, and, with regard to farm animals, the virus has only affected mink farms, with high morbidity and low mortality.
Persons suspected of or infected with the new coronavirus must therefore restrict contact with mammals, including pets, and, in turn, infected animals must remain separate from other animals or humans, although there is no evidence that “animals of company are playing an epidemiological role in this human disease “.
In this sense, “if suspicious or sick people have to take care of their animals, they must maintain good hygiene practices and wear a mask”, he concluded.
DGAV is a central service of the direct administration of the State, with administrative autonomy.
The covid-19 pandemic has already claimed more than one million deaths and more than 33.7 million cases of infection worldwide, according to a report made by the French agency AFP.
In Portugal, 1,963 people died from 74,717 confirmed cases of infection, according to the most recent bulletin from the Directorate-General for Health.
The disease is transmitted by a new coronavirus detected in late December in Wuhan, a city in central China.
After Europe succeeded China as the center of the pandemic in February, the American continent is now the one with the most confirmed cases and the most deaths.