Wash your hands after stroking your pet, say French experts

File: Even though there is no evidence yet that domestic animals can transmit the virus to humans or get sick from it, there could be a potential risk.

File: Even though there is no evidence yet that domestic animals can transmit the virus to humans or get sick from it, there could be a potential risk.

Unsplash/Adam Griffith

PARIS - A French medical body urged pet owners to take precautions like washing hands after stroking dogs or cats, saying the risk of catching COVID-19 from animals "cannot be ruled out".

Even though there is no evidence yet that domestic animals can transmit the virus to humans or get sick from it, there could be a potential risk, said the French Academy of Medicine, which advises the government on epidemics and has set up a dedicated COVID-19 monitoring group.

It noted that there is nothing to suggest so far that dogs can infect humans or other animals.

While reiterating that France's Anses health agency and the World Organisation for Animal Health consider animal-to-human transmission unlikely, the academy nevertheless advised pet owners to "reinforce" their hygiene measures, including regular hand-washing after touching their pet and "not allowing them to lick your face".

READ: Here's why you needn't worry about pets spreading COVID-19

It also recommended separating an infected owner from their animal companion "during the period that the sick person may excrete the virus", for example when coughing.

But the academy emphasised that "in a home where a sick person has COVID-19, the risk for people living under the same roof is much bigger from contact with the sick person than with the pet".

"Particularly in periods of confinement, the pet is more a friend than a danger," it added.

The World Health Organization recently stated there was "no evidence that a dog, cat or any pet can transmit COVID-19."

Source
AFP