Are dogs spreading SARS-CoV-2? Study of living with a dog increases the risk of covid-contracting -19

A study by the University of Granada and the Andalusian School of Public Health has analyzed the main risk factors in transmission SARS-CoV-2 During national lockdown in Spain, going out to work or being with patients COVID-19.

The authors warn about the need to take extreme hygiene measures about their pets among dog-lovers, as it is not yet clear whether the owners were infected because the animal serves as host to the virus Was and broadcast it directly, or did they choose it. Indirectly due to the increased exposure of the dog to the vehicle of the virus (which is the virus or the surface where the virus is contained).

“From a scientific point of view, there is no justification for closing children’s playgrounds to prevent infection, while parks where dogs are allowed to walk are allowed to remain open when there are many objects that are May serve as vehicles for SARS-CoV-2, observe the authors.

A study conducted by researchers at the University of Grenada (UGR) and Andalusian School of Public Health has analyzed the main risk factors in transmission of SARS-CoV-2 virus during the national lockout in Spain between March and May 2020. .

The study, published in the journal Environmental research, It turns out that living with a dog with home delivery and purchasing basic products in the supermarket were two of the socio-demographic variables (analyzed) that indicated the risk of contracting COVID-19 during the period under study Had increased – from 78% to the case of living with a dog, and to 94% in supermarket home delivery.

The authors warn dog-owners about the need to take extreme hygiene measures in relation to their pets, as it is not yet clear whether the owners were infected because the animal served as a host for the virus (And transmits it) or having taken it out for a walk in public.

As Christina Sanchez Gonzalez, a researcher at UGR’s Center for Biomedical Research and the lead author of this work, explained, “In view of the rapid spread of the virus even during lockdown, we consider it important to study socio-demographic characteristics, habits.” And comorbidities of SARS-CoV-2 infection to implement effective prevention strategies. “

To this end, the researchers designed a survey to capture the variables of interest during the lockdown period that could help explain the exponential spread of the virus despite the highly restrictive conditions applied at the national level in Spain.

Study based on 2,086 persons

The study was carried out throughout Spain, which tried to shed light on other possible routes of transmission of COVID-19 disease, risk factors, and effectiveness of sanitation measures recommended by the authorities to identify key points of risk. . The virus and thus reduces its spread – not only in this epidemic, but also for any future events that may compromise public health.

Based on a sample of 2,086 individuals, 41% of the population surveyed were aged between 40 and 54 years of age and studied at the degree (44%) or postgraduate (32%) level. This group presented a prevalence of 4.7% of the disease.

Results showed that the risk of suffering from COVID-19 is 60 times higher in those who cohabit with a COVID-19 patient. In addition, all socio-demographic variables were analyzed, living with a dog and taking it for a walk, with the most potent effect (up to 78%) in terms of increasing the risk of contracting the disease. In contrast, cats or other types of pets had no significant effect on the spread of the disease.

“The results of our research warn of increased contagion among dog-owners, and the reason for this high prevalence is not yet clear. The current lack of resources to diagnose SARS-CoV-2 in humans,” notes Sanchez González Keeping in mind, the probability of diagnosis in dogs is very low.

These results point to coitus with dogs being a strong risk factor for COVID-19 infection, although further studies may determine that this rapid increase in risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection Is the cause of transmission between humans? The dog, for a dog acting as a vehicle for the virus, or increasing contact with other vehicles for the virus (i.e., the object or surface where the virus is present). The latter may be due to an increased risk of the virus due to the dogs’ unnatural behavior and habits when out on the road and returning after them at home.

“Internationally, similar results have been obtained from our study regarding coronavirus virus infection in dogs, but it is necessary to dig deeper into this issue and establish whether this spread of the virus among dog-owners is a cause. Is from or someone else, ”explains the UGR researcher.

Sanchez Gonzalez warns that, “In the midst of an epidemic and in the absence of an effective treatment or vaccine, preventive hygiene measures are the only salvation, and these measures should also be applied to dogs, according to our study . ” The risk of contracting the virus directly or indirectly increases. “

Researchers also point out that “from a scientific point of view, there is no justification for children’s playgrounds to be closed to protect them from infection in the parks where dogs are kept, when they are allowed to remain open. There are many objects that can act as vehicles for SARS-CoV-2. At the same time, we should not rule out the possibility that the virus may have been transmitted through fecal matter. “

Supermarket Disinfect Products

In this study, the effect of some variables – gender, age, educational level, type of residence, size of household, cohabitation with children or adolescents, presence of workers among household members, presence of household workers in the household during lockout. , Or having any type of pet other than a dog, no statistical significance was found.

The most effective hygiene measure to help reduce the prevalence of the disease was to disinfect products once bought back from home (which reduced the risk by 94%). It was found to be more effective than other hygiene measures, such as facemask, use of gloves, disinfect with ethanol or bleach, disinfect shoes, and wash clothes while returning home.

Variables of mobility were studied, with the greatest impact in terms of increasing the spread of the virus, working outside the home (which increased the risk by 76%) and public transport (especially underground systems or tram networks). ) use of . The survey also revealed prevalence of the disease among those who bought their original products in a supermarket and then used a home delivery service, compared to those who brought their shopping home themselves (risk among the former group Increased by 94%).

The authors emphasize that this was an epidemiological study, which neither addresses the mechanisms surrounding the virus nor establishes causal relationships. This was a descriptive study in which selected variables were statistically associated with prevalence.

References: “Spreading SARS-CoV-2 in Spain: Sanitation Habits: Hygiene Habits, Sociological Profile,” by Miguel Rodriguez-Barrenco, Lorenzo Rivas-García, Jose L. Quiles, Daniel Redondo-Sanichez, Pilar Aranda-Ramariz Mobility patterns and comradities “., Juan Lallopis-Gonzalez, Maria Jose Sanchez Perez and Christina Sanchez-Gonzalez, 22 September 2020, Environmental research.
DOI: 10.1016 / j.envres.2020.110223

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