14:56 GMT13 May 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The World Health Organization (WHO) confirms the possibility of transmission of COVID-19 from humans to cats, dogs, minks, raccoon dogs, lions and tigers, and studies the effects of the virus on other animal species, WHO Representative to Russia Melita Vujnovic said on Monday.

    "The COVID-19 virus spreads mainly through human-to-human transmission, but there is evidence of human-to-animal transmission as it is a zoonotic virus," Vujnovic said.

    The WHO representative also said that an "intermediate host" has not yet been identified.

    "Several animals — minks, dogs, domestic cats, lions, tigers and raccoon dogs — who have come into contact with infected people, have tested positive for COVID-19. The process of studying the effect of the virus on other species of animals is underway," Vujnovic added.

    In addition, the health expert said that it is important to understand which animals are most "susceptible to the virus in order to find other potential animal reservoirs and avoid future outbreaks."

    Moreover, Vujnovic said that the WHO recommends coronavirus-positive people to limit contact with pets.

    "It is currently recommended that people with COVID-19 and people at risk limit contact with pets and other animals. As viruses move between populations of humans and animals, genetic modifications of the virus can occur and these changes could potentially have consequences for the disease that infects humans," she said.

    animals, transmission, COVID-19, World Health Organization (WHO)
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