While the world still deals with the COVID-19 virus and the aftermath of government regulations, another viral disease appeared to cause concern, monkeypox. In May of 2022, it was reported that an outbreak of monkeypox was found in the United Kingdom. The first person to be linked to the monkeypox apparently traveled to Nigeria, where the disease is known to be endemic. As of August, there have been over 34,000 confirmed cases of the outbreak, and now, it appears that the World Health Organization confirmed on Wednesday that not only are humans susceptible to the monkeypox disease, but so are dogs. 

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Speaking on the news of human transmitting monkeypox to a dog, Dr. Roasmund Lewis, who is the technical lead for the WHO monkeypox response team, noted that the single case should be a warning. “This is the first case reported of human-to-animal transmission. This has not been reported before, and we believe it is the first instance of a canine being infected.”

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Although this is believed to be the first case of a human transmitting the disease to a dog, the doctor added, “However, this is has been a theoretical risk – you may see that a number of public health agencies have advised those who contract monkeypox to make every effort to isolate from their pets because of this hypothetical risk – particularly in the household for domestic pets (but also) risks of contamination of animals outside the household, for example, for those accessing garbage and things like that. So waste management is critical, isolation is important.”

Over at the Health Emergencies program at WHO, the director, Dr. Mike Ryan, admitted while interesting, the case of human-to-animal transmission isn’t that uncommon. “In this particular case, transmission to a dog in a closed domestic setting, (with) one animal infected, is not unusual. It’s not unexpected. But what we don’t want to see happen is disease moving from one species to the next and then remaining in that species (and) moving around within a new species because that’s when the virus can adapt and then adapting to that new species (the virus) is incentivized to evolve as such.”

Last week, the news broke about a greyhound catching monkeypox disease after its owners shared a bed with their canine friend. After the two men found themselves with lesions mixed with other symptoms, they took proper precautions to limit their exposure to other people. But surprisingly, they never thought that monkeypox could affect their dog. It was a short time later that the dog, much like its owners, developed lesions. Taking the dog to the vet, the doctor confirmed the dog was positive for monkeypox. 

This piece was written by Jeremy Porter on August 18, 2022. It originally appeared in LifeZette and is used by permission.

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