Why Zika is no danger for pets but other vector transmitted diseases are
With the Olympic Games happening right now in Brazil, the country most affected by ZIKA and the general rapid spread of the ZIKA virus in South American countries, we at Bayer Animal Health decided to take a closer look at Zika. The documented number of 67 countries in which the virus was transmitted until the end of July shows that Zika is not limited to a few countries anymore. Also a few months ago the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the virus to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. In infected humans the symptoms can vary from mild infection with only light complications to severe disease with neurological and auto-immune illness. Furthermore Microcephaly – a reduced head and brain development of the newborn – is with a strong possibility associated with Zika virus infection during pregnancy.
As Zika is transmitted by a mosquito many people worry if their pets, or animals in general, may be affected too, or can even play a role in the virus transmission. But Prof. Michael Day, Professor for Veterinary Pathology at the University of Bristol, defeats this worry: “To date, we have seen no suggestion or scientific evidence that small animals, such as dogs or cats, can be infected or act as a reservoir for the Zika virus.” This means Zika is not a Companion-Vector-Borne-Diesease (CVBD). It cannot be transmitted from pets or other animals to humans and luckily they also cannot get infected with Zika. But even though ZIKA is no danger for pets, owners still have to be aware of many other severe CVBD’s like Lyme disease or Leishmaniosis just to name a few. These health threatening diseases can be transmitted by a single parasite bite so it is important to protect pets from flea, tick and mosquito bites in order to keep them healthy and prevent the potential transmission of diseases. Veterinarians can advise dog owners on the use of repellent products which do not require parasites to bite to die as they kill on contact and thereby, reduce the risk of disease transmission.
For further information on Zika have a look on:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
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