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Verify: Can people spread coronavirus to pets?

An article online said a Chinese scientist working on the coronavirus claims pets can catch the infection. KING 5 decided to Verify, here's what we learned.

There are a lot of claims about the coronavirus online and KING 5 will continue to Verify what's real and what's not.

An article by "Newsweek" going around online said a Chinese scientist working on the coronavirus claims pets can catch the infection.

We decided to Verify.

Our sources are Peter Rabinowitz, the Director of the University of Washington’s Center for One Health Research, the World Health Organization, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Rabinowitz told KING 5 right now, there is no evidence that the coronavirus has been passed between people and pets. He said there are other coronaviruses that can occur in pets, but he is not aware of any crossover from this strain.

Credit: KING 5

The World Health Organization echoed the same thing and said, “At present, there is no evidence that companion animals/pets such as dogs or cats can be infected with the new coronavirus."

The CDC said it is always a good idea to be safe when it comes to being around pets when you are sick. The CDC wrote online, "Do not handle pets or other animals while sick. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with 2019-nCoV, several types of coronaviruses can cause illness in animals and spread between animals and people."

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There is some evidence that people infected cats in Hong Kong during the SARS coronavirus outbreak, but Rabinowitz said it depends on the strain and that doesn’t mean this strain is capable of that.

Rabinowitz told KING 5 the risk is low for pets to get the coronavirus from humans, but that doesn’t mean people shouldn’t be careful. All three sources said it is always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets and try to stay away from pets if you or your pet is sick.

So right now, there is no proof that this coronavirus strain can spread from humans to pets.

If you have something you want us to Verify, send us an email to verify@king5.com.

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