Pet dog infected by horse owner in world first

Local | Jane Cheung 5 Mar 2020

The pet dog of a Covid-19 patient in Hong Kong has been confirmed to suffer from a "low-level infection, the first human-to-animal case world wide.

The pet dog of horse owner Yvonne Chow Hau-yee has repeatedly tested weak positive and experts believe it is infected, despite the dog not showing any symptoms, the agricultural, fisheries and conservation department said yesterday.

Experts from the University of Hong Kong and City University said it is likely a case of human-to-animal transmission, the first in the world.

It is under quarantine at the animal-keeping facility at the Hong Kong Port of Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge.

The news came as Hong Kong yesterday saw two more fresh cases, bringing the total to 103 - 102 confirmed and one probable.

The two new cases are Chow's 62-year-old sister-in-law and a foreign domestic helper of a mother and daughter, 57 and 31, who live at Redhill Peninsula in Tai Tam and were infected.

Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan Siu-chee said she had seen asymptomatic patients being tested positive and authorities are keeping an eye on the situation.

"Social distance is of the utmost importance as many confirmed cases went to gatherings or had big meals with other people," she said. "We'd like to prevent another big cluster."

Meanwhile, the 43-year-old head monk of the North Point Buddhist temple that is at the center of a cluster of coronavirus cases has been infected, despite not showing any symptoms.

The Centre for Health Protection's head of communicable diseases, Chuang Shuk-kwan, said the head monk lives in the Fook Wai Ching She Buddhist worship hall in Maylun Apartments that has been at the center of a cluster of cases.

Retests yesterday found him positive.

With the monk having been in Sichuan from January 17 to 20, checks with mainland authorities are ongoing over whether there had been outbreaks near the places he stayed.

Asked why he tested negative initially, Chuang said the temple operated until February 22 and within the 14-day incubation period the monk could have contracted the virus but was not being affected by it until yesterday. "Another possibility is that he could have been infected early but is now going through the last recovery stages," she said.

Chow's sister-in-law has been in a quarantine center since February 26 with her husband, who on Tuesday was confirmed as having been infected.

The confirmation of Chow's brother prompted the Jockey Club to close its Happy Valley club house.

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