Hong Kong finds coronavirus in pet dog samples, unclear if infected


Posted at Feb 28 2020 08:21 AM | Updated as of Feb 28 2020 08:37 AM

Dogs wearing masks are seen at a main shopping area, in downtown Shanghai, China, as the country is hit by an outbreak of a new coronavirus, Feb. 16, 2020. Hong Kong authorities said Friday they quarantined a pet dog of a coronavirus patient after it tested "weak positive" for the pathogen. Aly Song, Reuters

HONG KONG - Hong Kong authorities said on Friday they quarantined a pet dog of a coronavirus patient after its nasal and oral samples tested "weak positive" for the virus, though they added they did not yet have evidence that it can be transmitted to pets.

The dog did not have any symptoms.

The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said it will conduct further tests to confirm if the dog had been infected with the virus or if the samples were only the result of environmental contamination.

"At present, the AFCD does not have evidence that pet animals can be infected ... or can be a source of infection to people," it said in a statement.

The dog will be put under quarantine for 2 weeks.

The World Health Organization website says so far there has been no evidence that companion pets can be infected with the coronavirus.

Hong Kong has reported 93 confirmed cases of coronavirus infections in humans, and 2 fatalities.