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Study documents first human to dog monkeypox transmission in France

🕒 Last updated: Aug 12, 11:53 GMT

Paris: French researchers have documented the first case of a dog with confirmed monkeypox virus infection that might have been acquired through human transmission. Published in medical journal The Lancet, a team from the Sorbonne University in Paris recorded the case of monekypox virus in two men who have sex with men: an HIV-positive Latino man, aged 44 years, living with undetectable viral loads on antiretrovirals; and a HIV-negative white man, aged 27 years.

Twelve days after the onset of monkeypox symptoms, their male Italian greyhound, aged 4 years and with no previous medical disorders, tested positive for the virus. The men, who are non-exclusive partners living in the same household, presented with anal skin ulcer 6 days after sex with other partners.

In the Latino man, anal skin ulcer was followed by rash on the face, ears, and legs, while the white man had it on the legs and back. In both cases, rash was associated with weakness, headaches, and fever 4 days later.The dog, who was co-sleeping with the men, presented with mucocutaneous (involving both typical skin and mucous membrane) lesions, including red, tender bumps with white pus on abdomen and anal skin ulcer.

The team sequenced monkeypox virus DNA from the dog and the Latino man and found that the samples contained virus of the hMPXV-1 clade, lineage B.1, which has been spreading in non-endemic countries since April. “To the best of our knowledge, the kinetics of symptom onset in both patients and, subsequently, in their dog suggest human-to-dog transmission of monkeypox virus,” Sophie Seang,from theA University’s Infectious Diseases Department, along with her team wrote in the paper.

Given the dog’s skin and mucosal lesions as well as the positive monkeypox virus PCR results from anal and oral swabs, we hypothesise a real canine disease, not a simple carriage of the virus by close contact with humans or airborne transmission (or both),” the team added.In endemic countries, only wild animals (rodents and primates) have been found to carry monkeypox virus.

However, transmission of monkeypox virus in prairie dogs has been described in the US and in captive primates in Europe that were in contact with imported infected animals. But infection among domesticated animals, such as dogs and cats, has never been reported, the researchers said, suggesting the need to keep pets away from infected patients.

“Our findings should prompt debate on the need to isolate pets from monkeypox virus-positive individuals,” the team said, calling for further investigation on secondary transmissions via pets.

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