Paris: French researchers have documented the first case of a dog with a confirmed monkeypox virus infection that may have been transmitted through a human.
Published in the medical journal The Lancet, a team from the Sorbonne University in Paris recorded the case of monkeypox virus in two sexually active men: an HIV-positive Latino man, aged 44 years, living with undetectable viral loads on antiretrovirals; and an HIV-negative white man, aged 27 years.
Twelve days after the onset of monkeypox symptoms, their male Italian greyhound, aged 4 years and with no previous medical disorders, tested positive for the virus.
Both men are non-exclusive partners who live in the same house. They developed anal skin ulcers six days after having sex with other partners.
The Latino man developed an Anal skin ulcer followed by a rash on his face, ears, and legs. The white man had it on the legs and back. Rash was associated with weakness, headaches and fever after 4 days in both cases.
The dog, who was co-sleeping with the men, presented with mucocutaneous (involving both typical skin and mucous membrane) lesions, including red, tender bumps with white pus on the abdomen and an anal skin ulcer.
The team sequenced monkeypox virus DNA from the dog and the Latino man and found that the samples contained virus of the hMPXV-1 clade, lineage B.1, which has been spreading in non-endemic countries since April.
“To the best of our knowledge, the kinetics of symptom onset in both patients and, subsequently, in their dog suggest human-to-dog transmission of monkeypox virus,” Sophie Seang, from the University`s Infectious Diseases Department, along with her team wrote in the paper.
Given the dog’s skin and mucosal lesions as well as the positive monkeypox virus PCR results from anal and oral swabs, we hypothesise a real canine disease, not a simple carriage of the virus by close contact with humans or airborne transmission (or both),” the team added.
In endemic countries, only wild animals (rodents and primates) have been found to carry the monkeypox virus.
However, the transmission of monkeypox virus in prairie dogs has been described in the US and in captive primates in Europe that were in contact with imported infected animals.
But infection among domesticated animals, such as dogs and cats, has never been reported, the researchers said, suggesting the need to keep pets away from infected patients.
“Our findings should prompt debate on the need to isolate pets from monkeypox virus-positive individuals,” the team said, calling for further investigation on secondary transmissions via pets.
(With IANS inputs)