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First confirmed case of Covid in pet reported in South Korea

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Seoul, Jan 24 (IANS) In the first case involving a pet, a kitten has tested positive for the Covid-19 in South Korea.

The infected kitten tested positive on Thursday and was found at a religious facility in the southeastern city of Jinju in South Gyeongsang Province, according to government officials.

“During a recent tracking process involving a mass outbreak, health authorities found that a pet has tested positive for Covid-19 in the first such case,” Yonhap News Agency quoted Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun as saying on Sunday.

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Twenty-nine people were first confirmed to be infected after visiting there earlier this month, and more than 100 linked to the facility, including them, have since tested positive.

During a tracking process, officials found that a mother and daughter staying at the facility were raising three cats — a mother cat and two kittens — there. The infected pet is one of the two kittens.

Health authorities suspect the cat got the virus from the mother and daughter, who have both tested positive for Covid-19.

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A government official said it is very rare for pets to transmit the virus to humans, citing health experts, the report said.

The Prime Minister urged health authorities to look into the possibility of transmissions between humans and animals and to transparently share the findings for people who live with pets or are often exposed to them.

He also asked the farm ministry to consult with health authorities to prepare guidelines for pet owners.

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While cases of pets getting the infectious virus through their owners have been reported in places like Japan, Hong Kong and Brazil, no such case had been confirmed in South Korea.

–IANS

vc/kr

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