Coronavirus patient’s dog tests positive for killer bug as experts say human-to-animal transmission is 'likely'

5 March 2020, 11:20

A Pomeranian dog has tested positive for the killer bug.
A Pomeranian dog has tested positive for the killer bug. Picture: Getty

A Pomeranian pooch has contracted a 'low-level' dose of the infection and is being quarantined in Hong Kong.

A coronavirus patient's dog has tested positive for the disease in what is 'likely' a case of human-to-animal transmission, says authorities in Hong Kong.

The Pomeranian, which belongs to a 60-year-old woman who already has the killer bug, repeatedly tested "weak positive" for the widespread disease and is now being held in animal quarantine.

The Chinese city's Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said a "low-level infection" has been detected in the pooch.

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A Pomeranian has tested "weak positive" for coronavirus.
A Pomeranian has tested "weak positive" for coronavirus. Picture: Getty

During a press conference yesterday, health minister Sophia Chan Siu-chee said of Yvonne Chow Hau Yee's pet dog: "It is positive to tests and has been infected, so it is now quarantined in a centre by the department.

"Further tests will be conducted and it will not be released until the tests return negative results."

Another statement released by authorities outlined the fact that multiple experts had been asked to give their opinion on the unusual coronavirus case.

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It is thought to be the first case of human-to-animal transmission.
It is thought to be the first case of human-to-animal transmission. Picture: Getty

According to the department, all “unanimously agreed that these results suggest that the dog has a low level of infection and it is likely to be a case of human-to-animal transmission”.

"It would be closely monitored and undergo further tests to confirm if it really has the virus or if this is a result of environmental contamination of the dog's mouth and nose.

"Apart from maintaining good hygiene practices, pet owners need not be overly concerned and under no circumstances should they abandon their pets," added the AFCD.

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Despite the dog's positive test result, a spokesperson made it clear that there is still no concrete evidence to suggest animals are the source of the virus.

However, a new rule has been passed by Hong Kong's government that states all pets infected with the coronavirus must be quarantined for 14 days.

There are already two dogs in isolation.

Over 3,000 people have died from COVID-19 to date, and over 93,000 have been infected with the disease.