South Korean officials confirmed on Sunday that a kitten has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).
According to Yonhap News Agency, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said this is the first virus case involving a pet.
The infected kitten was found at a religious facility in the southeastern city of Jinju in South Gyeongsang Province and tested positive for the virus on Thursday.
Officials have also found that a mother and daughter staying at the facility were raising three cats – a mother cat and two kittens – there. The infected one is one of the two kittens.
They suspect that the kitten got the virus from the mother and daughter who also tested positive of COVID-19.
It is very rare for pets to transmit the virus to humankind, a government official said citing health experts.
Prime Minister Chung urged health authorities to look into the possibility of transmissions between humankind and animals to transparently share the findings for people who live with pets are often exposed to them.
The farm ministry was also asked to consult with health authorities to prepare guidelines for pet owners.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there has been a small number of pet cats and dogs that have been reported to be infected with SARS-CoV-2 in several countries, including the United States.
One ferret was also reported positive for SARS-CoV-2 in Slovenia.
Most of these pets became sick after contact with people with COVID-19.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has also noted dogs and cats in contact with humans that tested positive for COVID-19. However, there is no evidence that these animals can transmit the disease to humans and spread it. (ES)