WHO issues warning after first case of human transmitting monkeypox to dog

WHO issues warning after first case of human transmitting monkeypox to dog
Live stream 1069
Jamie  Micklethwaite

By Jamie Micklethwaite

Published: 17/08/2022

- 17:02

Updated: 14/02/2023

- 10:44

The World Health Organization said work to rename the virus is ongoing

A dog has been infected with monkeypox after contracting the virus from its owner, health leaders said.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) stressed the need for proper isolation and waste management among cases after confirming the first case of human-to-dog transmission of the virus.

Monkeypox can spread with close contact and it can also be passed on when someone touches objects, surfaces or fabrics – such as clothing, bedding, or towels – which have been used by someone with monkeypox.

Around the world some 35,000 cases have been confirmed to the WHO – with most cases found in Europe and the Americas.

And there was a 20% week-by-week increase, according to the latest data from he global health body.

This is a contrast to UK data where cases appear to be “plateauing”, according to the latest analysis from the UK Health Security Agency.

FILE PHOTO: World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus gives a statement on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination, during a European Union - African Union summit, in Brussels, Belgium February 18, 2022. REUTERS/Johanna Geron/Pool/File Photo
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO’s director general, spoke at the briefing

Some 12 deaths around the world have been linked to the outbreak, WHO said.

Meanwhile officials confirmed that there has been some “breakthrough cases” – which mean a person is infected after vaccination.

Commenting on the first human-to-dog transmission of the virus, Dr Rosamund Lewis, technical lead on the monkeypox response at the WHO, said: “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.

“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.”

A Generic Photo of a cartoon of monkeypox on the skin
A Generic Photo of a cartoon of monkeypox on the skin
PA Features Archive/Press Association Images

Dr Mike Ryan, director of the WHO’s Health Emergencies programme, said: “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.

Dr Sylvie Briand, director of global infectious hazard preparedness at the WHO, added: “It’s the first time, so it means that dogs can be infected, but it doesn’t mean that the dog can transmit the disease and infect other dogs, nor does it mean that the dog can re-infect human if it is infected.”

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO’s director general, also told the press briefing: “More than 35,000 cases of Monkeypox have now been reported to WHO, from 92 countries and territories, with 12 deaths.

“Almost 7,500 cases were reported last week, a 20% increase over the previous week, which was also 20% more than the week before.

“Almost all cases are being reported from Europe and the Americas among men who have sex with men, underscoring the importance for all countries to design and deliver services and information tailored to these communities that protect health, human rights and dignity.

“However, for the moment, supplies of vaccines, and data about their effectiveness, are limited, although we are starting to receive data from some countries.”

He said work in renaming the virus was “ongoing”.

You may like