By JoNel Aleccia, Kaiser Well being Information

Wednesday, November 04, 2020 (Kaiser Information) — As COVID-19 circumstances surge within the U.S., one Texas veterinarian has been quietly monitoring the unfold of the illness — not in individuals, however of their pets.

Since June, Dr. Sarah Hamer and her staff at Texas A&M College have examined tons of of animals from space households the place people contracted COVID-19. They’ve swabbed canine and cats, positive, but in addition pet hamsters and guinea pigs, in search of indicators of an infection. “We’re open to all of it,” stated Hamer, a professor of epidemiology, who has discovered at the least 19 circumstances of an infection.

One pet that examined optimistic was Phoenix, a 7-year-old part-Siamese cat owned by Kaitlyn Romoser, who works in a college lab. Romoser, 23, was confirmed to have COVID-19 twice, as soon as in March and once more in September. The second time she was a lot sicker, she stated, and Phoenix was her fixed companion.

“If I might have recognized animals had been simply getting it all over the place, I might have tried to distance myself, however he is not going to distance himself from me,” Romoser stated. “He sleeps in my mattress with me. There was completely no social distancing.”

Throughout the nation, veterinarians and different researchers are scouring the animal kingdom for indicators of the virus that causes COVID-19. At the least 2,000 animals within the U.S. have been examined for the coronavirus because the pandemic started, in line with federal information. Cats and canine that had been uncovered to sick house owners characterize a lot of the animals examined and 80% of the optimistic circumstances discovered.

However scientists have forged a large internet investigating different animals that may very well be in danger. In states from California to Florida, researchers have examined species starting from farmed minks and zoo cats to sudden critters like dolphins, armadillos and anteaters.

The U.S. Division of Agriculture retains an official tally of confirmed animal COVID circumstances that stands at a number of dozen. However that listing is an unlimited undercount of precise infections. In Utah and Wisconsin, as an illustration, greater than 14,000 minks died in current weeks after contracting COVID infections initially unfold by people.

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