Can monkeypox spread between humans and their pets? Stay safe with these tips: NPR

Registered pharmacist Sapana Patel loads a syringe of monkeypox vaccine at a pop-up vaccination site Wednesday, August 3, 2022 in West Hollywood, Calif.

Richard Vogel/AP

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Richard Vogel/AP

Registered pharmacist Sapana Patel loads a syringe of monkeypox vaccine at a pop-up vaccination site Wednesday, August 3, 2022 in West Hollywood, Calif.

Richard Vogel/AP

Monkeypox, who has more than 11,800 cases in the current outbreak in the United States, affects humans with symptoms such as fever and rash.

But the virus is zoonotic, which means it spreads between animals and people – and yes, you can pass it on to your pets, and vice versa. (However, there are currently no reports in the United States of human-to-animal transmission of the virus.)

Monkeypox can be passed between you and your furry friend through close contact, which includes cuddling, cuddling, kissing, licking, and sharing sleeping areas and food.

Animals carrying the virus include various rodents, dogs, primates, hedgehogs and shrews, according to the Centers for Control and Prevention of Disasters.

What to do with your pet if you catch monkeypox

If the person who gets monkeypox has not been in close contact with pets after showing symptoms, ask friends or family members from a separate household to care for your pet until until the person recovers.

Thoroughly disinfect your home before bringing your pet home.

If the animal had close contact with the infected person, the animal should be isolated from animals and other people for 21 days after the most recent exposure. However, the infected person should not be the one caring for the exposed animal, says the CDC.

If there are no other options and the human who contracted the virus needs to care for the animal, that person should:

  • Wash hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer before and after caring for them
  • Cover up any rash as much as possible by wearing long sleeves and pants
  • Wear gloves and a mask or respirator when caring for the animal

What You Shouldn’t Do With Your Pet If You Get Monkeypox

If you get monkeypox, there are several things you should avoid doing:

  • Avoid close contact whenever possible.
  • Do not return, euthanize, or abandon pets due to exposure to or contraction of monkeypox.
  • Do not wipe or bathe your pet with chemical disinfectants, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, hand sanitizer, counter-cleaning wipes, or other industrial or surface cleaners.
  • Do not put a mask on your pet.
  • Do not expose animals to rashes, bandages and body fluids.

What to do if your pet gets monkeypox?

The CDC said it doesn’t currently know all of the symptoms pets may display, although there are some changes pet owners should be aware of, such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Lack of appetite
  • To cough
  • Nasal secretions or crust
  • Bloating
  • Fever
  • Pimple or blister-like rash

Also, contact a veterinarian if an animal shows signs of infection within 21 days of being exposed to the virus. A veterinarian can test it and help notify state authorities.

If your pet begins to show symptoms, they should isolate themselves from other animals and minimize human contact for at least 21 days.

When caring for a sick animal, wash your hands frequently and use personal protective equipment (PPE) such as eye protection, mask or respirator, gloves and disposable gown.

If a gown is not available, use long-sleeved clothing. Remove and wash all clothing after exposure to the animal and its belongings. Remove all PPE when you are finished caring for the animal.

Pet waste should be kept in a dedicated, lined bin and should not be left or discarded outside, as it may increase the risk of spreading the virus to other animals.

Objects that come into contact with the animal must be properly disinfected.

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