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Preprint in English | Other preprints | ID: ppcovidwho-294830


Background Approximately 67% of U.S. households have pets. Limited data are available on SARS-CoV-2 in pets. We assessed SARS-CoV-2 infection in pet cohabitants as a sub-study of an ongoing COVID-19 household transmission investigation. Methods Mammalian pets from households with ≥1 person with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 were eligible for inclusion from April–May 2020. Demographic/exposure information, oropharyngeal, nasal, rectal, and fur swabs, feces, and blood were collected from enrolled pets and tested by rRT-PCR and virus neutralization assays. Findings We enrolled 37 dogs and 19 cats from 34 of 41 eligible households. All oropharyngeal, nasal, and rectal swabs tested negative by rRT-PCR;one dog’s fur swabs (2%) tested positive by rRT-PCR at the first animal sampling. Among 47 pets with serological results from 30 households, eight (17%) pets (4 dogs, 4 cats) from 6 (20%) households had detectable SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies. In households with a seropositive pet, the proportion of people with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 was greater (median 79%;range: 40–100%) compared to households with no seropositive pet (median 37%;range: 13–100%) (p=0.01). Thirty-three pets with serologic results had frequent daily contact (≥1 hour) with the human index patient before the person’s COVID-19 diagnosis. Of these 33 pets, 14 (42%) had decreased contact with the human index patient after diagnosis and none (0%) were seropositive;of the 19 (58%) pets with continued contact, 4 (21%) were seropositive. Interpretations Seropositive pets likely acquired infection from humans, which may occur more frequently than previously recognized. People with COVID-19 should restrict contact with animals. Funding Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Agriculture