By JoNel Aleccia, Kaiser Well being Information

Wednesday, November 04, 2020 (Kaiser Information) — As COVID-19 circumstances surge within the U.S., one Texas veterinarian has been quietly monitoring the unfold of the illness — not in folks, however of their pets.

Since June, Dr. Sarah Hamer and her workforce at Texas A&M College have examined tons of of animals from space households the place people contracted COVID-19. They’ve swabbed canine and cats, certain, but in addition pet hamsters and guinea pigs, on the lookout for indicators of an infection. “We’re open to all of it,” mentioned Hamer, a professor of epidemiology, who has discovered a minimum of 19 circumstances of an infection.

One pet that examined constructive was Phoenix, a 7-year-old part-Siamese cat owned by Kaitlyn Romoser, who works in a college lab. Romoser, 23, was confirmed to have COVID-19 twice, as soon as in March and once more in September. The second time she was a lot sicker, she mentioned, and Phoenix was her fixed companion.

“If I might have recognized animals have been simply getting it all over the place, I might have tried to distance myself, however he is not going to distance himself from me,” Romoser mentioned. “He sleeps in my mattress with me. There was completely no social distancing.”

Throughout the nation, veterinarians and different researchers are scouring the animal kingdom for indicators of the virus that causes COVID-19. Not less than 2,000 animals within the U.S. have been examined for the coronavirus because the pandemic started, in keeping with federal data. Cats and canine that have been uncovered to sick homeowners signify a lot of the animals examined and 80% of the constructive circumstances discovered.

However scientists have forged a large internet investigating different animals that could possibly be in danger. In states from California to Florida, researchers have examined species starting from farmed minks and zoo cats to sudden critters like dolphins, armadillos and anteaters.

The U.S. Division of Agriculture retains an official tally of confirmed animal COVID circumstances that stands at a number of dozen. However that listing is an enormous undercount of precise infections. In Utah and Wisconsin, for example, greater than 14,000 minks died in latest weeks after contracting COVID infections initially unfold by people.

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