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First detection and genome sequencing of SARS‐CoV‐2 in an infected cat in France

Abstract : After its first description in Wuhan (China), SARS-CoV-2 the agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) rapidly spread worldwide. Previous studies suggested that pets could be susceptible to SARS-CoV-2. Here, we investigated the putative infection by SARS-CoV-2 in 22 cats and 11 dogs from owners previously infected or suspected of being infected by SARS-CoV-2. For each animal, rectal, nasopharyngeal swabs and serum were taken. Swabs were submitted to RT-qPCR assays targeting 2 genes of SARS-CoV-2. All dogs were tested SARS-CoV-2 negative. One cat was tested positive by RT-qPCR on rectal swab. Nasopharyngeal swabs from this animal were tested negative. This cat showed mild respiratory and digestive signs. Serological analysis confirms the presence of antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 in both serum samples taken 10 days apart. Genome sequence analysis revealed that the cat SARS-CoV-2 belongs to the phylogenetic clade A2a like most of the French human SARS-CoV-2. This study reports for the first time the natural infection of a cat in France (near Paris) probably through their owners. There is currently no evidence that cats can spread COVID-19 and owners should not abandon their pets or compromise their welfare.
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Contributor : Aurelia Kwasiborski <>
Submitted on : Friday, September 11, 2020 - 12:23:38 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, January 21, 2021 - 8:34:02 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Friday, December 4, 2020 - 9:26:42 PM


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Corinne Sailleau, Marine Dumarest, Jessica Vanhomwegen, Manon Delaplace, Valérie Caro, et al.. First detection and genome sequencing of SARS‐CoV‐2 in an infected cat in France. Transboundary and emerging diseases, Wiley-Blackwell, 2020, Online ahead of print, ⟨10.1111/tbed.13659⟩. ⟨hal-02874788⟩



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