Is your pet spreading the monkey pox virus?
Animals play a big role when we talk about the spread of viruses, and it has happened again. This time, the monkeypox virus has been carried and spread by animals. But does your pet influence the transmission to you?
The monkeypox virus can infect different types of animals, meaning it will circulate among the animals, and there is a risk that they will spread it back to humans. Virologist Isabelle Eckerle lists farm animals and pets as hosts for the virus. Rats are referred to herein as specific.
This is because the rats have already brought the monkeypox virus to the US before. This was then about the Gambia giant hamster rat. This had happened before in 2003, which was the first time that the monkeypox virus was diagnosed outside of Africa. This was then due to rodents and pygmy dormice.
There is no evidence yet that the current outbreak is from rats or other animals. Most of the infected people are men who have had sex with other men. The virus is likely transmitted through bodily fluids. Think of saliva or semen.
Yet there is certainly a chance that the transfer between humans and (domestic) animals is there, we have to be vigilant, says virologist Fabian Leendertz.