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Title: Seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in client-owned cats from Portugal
Authors: Oliveira, Andreia
Pereira, Maria Aires
Mateus, Teresa Letra
Mesquita, João R.
Vala, Helena
Keywords: COVID-19
Anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies
Human–animal interaction
Issue Date: 16-Jul-2022
Citation: Oliveira, A., Pereira, M. A., Mateus, T. L., Mesquita, J. R. & Vala, H. (2022). Seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in client-owned cats from Portugal. Vet. Sci., 9, 363.
Abstract: The close contact between humans and domestic cats raises concerns about the potential risks of SARS-CoV-2 transmission. Thus, this study aims to investigate anti-SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence in client-owned cats from Portugal and evaluate the infection risk of cats that maintain contact with human COVID-19 cases. A total of 176 cats, belonging to 94 households, were sampled. Cat owners answered an online questionnaire, and cats were screened for antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 using a commercial ELISA. Twenty (21.3%) households reported at least one confirmed human COVID-19 case. Forty cats (22.7%) belonged to a COVID-19-positive and 136 (77.3%) to a COVID-19- negative household. The seroprevalences of cats from COVID-19-positive and -negative households were 5.0% (2/40) and 0.7% (1/136). The two SARS-CoV-2-seropositive cats from COVID-19-positive households had an indoor lifestyle, and their owners stated that they maintained a close and frequent contact with them, even after being diagnosed with COVID-19, pointing towards human-to-cat transmission. The SARS-CoV-2-seropositive cat from the COVID-19-negative household had a mixed indoor/outdoor lifestyle and chronic diseases. Owners of the three SARS-CoV-2-seropositive cats did not notice clinical signs or behavior changes. This study highlights the low risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission from COVID-19-positive human household members to domestic cats, even in a context of close and frequent human–animal contact.
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