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Risk of animals spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 to people
August 24, 2020

What you need to know
*We do not know the exact source of the current outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), but we know that it originally came from an animal, likely a    bat.

* At this time, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.

* Based on the limited information available to date, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low.


* More studies are needed to understand if and how different animals could be affected by COVID-19.


* We are still learning about this virus, but it appears that it can spread from people to animals in some situations.

Some coronaviruses that infect animals can be spread to humans and then spread between people, but this is rare. This is what happened with the virus that caused the current outbreak of COVID-19, with the virus likely originating in bats. The first reported infections were linked to a live animal market, but the virus is now spreading from person to person.

The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets from coughing, sneezing, and talking. Recent studies show that people who are infected but do not have symptoms likely also play a role in the spread of COVID-19. At this time, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Based on the limited information available to date, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low. More studies are needed to understand if and how different animals could be affected by COVID-19.

We are still learning about this virus, but it appears that it can spread from people to animals in some situations, especially after close contact with a person sick with COVID-19.

For information on how to protect pets from possible infection with SARS-CoV-2, see If You Have Pets.




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