WHO calls for vigilance after dog infected with monkeypox

WHO calls for vigilance after dog infected with monkey pox


The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday called on people infected with monkeypox to avoid exposing animals to the virus, after a first reported case of human transmission to the dog. 

A first case of transmission of monkeypox from humans to dogs was reported last week in the medical journal The Lancet – two infected men who transmitted the virus to their greyhound in Paris.

“This is the first reported case of human-to-animal transmission (…) and we believe this is the first time a dog has been infected,” Rosamund Lewis told reporters. technical officer at WHO for monkeypox.

Experts, she said, were aware of the theoretical risk of this type of transmission and know that public health agencies have already warned infected people to “stay away from their pets”.

She nevertheless stressed that “waste management is essential” to reduce the risk of contamination of rodents and other animals outside the household. .

When a virus crosses a species barrier, it often raises concern about a possibly more dangerous mutation. But according to Ms Lewis, there is no information at this stage to say that this is the case with monkeypox.

“It is nevertheless certain that as soon as the virus moves into another affecting environment another population, there is obviously a possibility that it develops differently and mutates differently,” she said.

The main concern is animals living outside the household.

“The most dangerous situation occurs when a virus moves through a small mammalian population with a high density of animals,” the authorities told journalists the Director of Emergencies at the WHO, Michael Ryan.

“It is through the process of one animal infecting the next and the next and the next that you see a rapid evolution of the virus”, he underlined.

According to him, there is little to worry about pets. “I don't think the virus evolves faster with a single dog than with a single person,” he said, adding that while “we have to remain vigilant, pets are not a risk”.

According to the latest WHO report, 31,665 cases of monkeypox, including 12 deaths, have been recorded worldwide.

WHO launched on July 24 the highest level of alert, the “public health emergency of international concern”, to strengthen the fight against the disease.