A dog in France has tested positive for the monkeypox virus, the first suspected case of human-to-pet transmission, according to a medical journal.
The Lancet published a study this month after the dog, a 4-year-old Italian greyhound, was infected after living with two men in France that were diagnosed with the disease.
The dog had no previous medical disorders but presented with lesions and pustules on its abdomen 12 days after the men. The pair said they had kept the dog away from other people and animals, but that it had slept in their bed with them.
DNA testing showed the lineage of monkeypox between one of the men and the dog matched.
“Our findings should prompt debate on the need to isolate pets from monkeypox virus-positive individuals,” the researchers wrote.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance for pets after the report to say dogs can be infected with the disease. The CDC currently says any animal that had close contact with a symptomatic person with monkeypox should be kept at home, away from other people and animals for 21 days.
“Infected people should not take care of exposed pets,” the agency says. “The person with monkeypox should avoid close contact with the exposed animal, and when possible, ask another household member to care for the animal until the person with monkeypox is fully recovered.”
Health officials said the report could result in new guidance for how people should respond if they test positive for monkeypox, although they stressed it’s still unclear if the dog could transmit the infection to any other people or animals.
“This is the first incident that we’re learning about where there is human to animal transmission,” Rosamund Lewis, the World Health Organization’s technical lead for monkeypox, told The Washington Post this week. “This has not been reported before, and it has not been reported that dogs have been infected before. So, on a number of levels, this is new information. It’s not surprising information, and it’s something that we’ve been on the watch out for.”
Cases of monkeypox have been primarily seen in gay and bisexual men, and infections usually spread through close contact. There have been 11,890 confirmed cases in the U.S.