Can pets spread 2019-nCoV? WHO busts coronavirus myths


Posted at Jan 31 2020 01:20 PM

Can pets spread 2019-nCoV? WHO busts coronavirus myths 1
Pet lovers display their dogs wearing Chinese cheongsams during Year of the Dog celebrations for the Chinese Lunar New Year in Manila. Romeo Ranoco, Reuters

MANILA - There is no present evidence that pets, such as dogs and cats, can be infected with the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), the World Health Organization said. 

"However, it is always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets. This protects you against various common bacteria such as E.coli and Salmonella that can pass between pets and humans," the WHO said.

The WHO said the spread of the new coronavirus is a global emergency, saying 2019-nCoV can affect "people of all ages."

"Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus," it said.

Are antibiotics effective in preventing and treating the 2019-nCoV? Certainly not, according to the WHO.

"Antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria. The new coronavirus is a virus and, therefore, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment," it said.

WHO, however, stressed, "However, if you are hospitalized for the 2019-nCoV, you may receive antibiotics because bacterial co-infection is possible."

To date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the virus, according to the WHO.

"However, those infected with the virus should receive appropriate care to relieve and treat symptoms, and those with severe illness should receive optimized supportive care. Some specific treatments are under investigation, and will be tested through clinical trials," it said.

The virus, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan in Dec., has claimed at least 213 lives and sickened nearly 10,000 others in China as of Friday.

It has also spread to at least 18 countries, including the Philippines, which recorded its first confirmed case of the virus on Thursday.