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An Italian greyhound owned by a gay couple has been infected with monkeypox in the first reported case passed from a human to their pet.
The French couple, involved in a non-monogamous relationship, are believed to have contracted monkeypox following sexual contact with other men.
They said they noticed pustules on their dog’s stomach. A PCR test later confirmed the pooch had contracted the virus.
The animal had shared a bed with the two men and had licked at least one of them before licking itself, according to the Lancet Medical Journal.
Both men, ages 44 and 27, suffered from extensive ulcers and rashes since their cases were confirmed in June. And just 12 days after their symptoms began, the dog began showing signs it had contracted the virus.
The couple said they had been careful to keep their dog isolated from other pets or humans from the onset of their own symptoms.
Officials have said those infected with the virus should quarantine away from their pets to reduce transmission.
This is the first case in which a domesticated animal has been infected with monkeypox.
“In endemic countries, only wild animals (rodents and primates) have been found to carry monkeypox virus,” the Journal reported. “However, transmission of monkeypox virus in prairie dogs has been described in the USA and in captive primates in Europe that were in contact with imported infected animals.”
The World Health Organization said the recent monkeypox outbreak is a global emergency. Nearly 100 countries have reported cases of monkeypox this year, and a dozen deaths have been linked to the virus.
Monkeypox can spread through close, personal contact, including direct contact with monkeypox rash, scabs or body fluids from someone with the virus, or touching fabrics or objects used by someone with the virus. It can also be spread through sex, hugging, kissing, prolonged face-to-face contact or touching fabrics or objects during sex that were used by a person with monkeypox, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
“It’s also possible for people to get monkeypox from infected animals, either by being scratched or bitten by the animal or by preparing or eating meat or using products from an infected animal,” the CDC said on its website.