COVID-19 pandemic and animals

Dogs are capable of becoming infected with COVID-19. They are also capable of cheering up lonely caretakers during lockdowns.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected animals directly and indirectly. SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is zoonotic, which likely to have originated from animals such as bats and pangolins.[1][2][3] Human impact on wildlife and animal habitats may be causing such spillover events to become much more likely.[4][5] The largest incident to date was the culling of 14 to 17 million mink in Denmark after it was discovered that they were infected with a mutant strain of the virus.[6][7]

While research is inconclusive, pet owners reported that their animals contributed to better mental health and lower loneliness during COVID-19 lockdowns.[8][9] However, contact with humans infected with the virus could have adverse effects on pet animals.[10]

Background

SARS-CoV-2 is believed to have zoonotic origins and has close genetic similarity to bat coronaviruses, suggesting it emerged from a bat-borne virus.[11][12][13][14]

Cases

A small number of pet animals have been infected. There have been several cases of zoo animals testing positive for the virus, and some became sick. The virus has also been detected in wild animals.

Cats, dogs, ferrets, fruit bats, gorillas, pangolins, hamsters, minks, sea otters, pumas, snow leopards, tigers, lions, hyenas, tree shrews and whitetail deer can be infected with and have tested positive at least once for the virus.[3] According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the risk of transmission from animals to humans and vice versa is considerably low but further studies are yet to be conducted.[3] Mice were initially unsusceptible but researchers showed that a type of mutation (called aromatic substitution in position 501 or position 498 but not both) in the SARS-CoV-2 virus spike protein can mouse-adapt the novel Coronavirus.[15]

Animal deaths due to the disease are confirmed to have occurred.[16][17]

Asiatic lions

The Nehru Zoological Park reported that eight Asiatic lions have contracted the virus. The samples were taken on 24 March 2021, after the lions showed signs of respiratory distress.[18]

Deer

SARS-CoV-2 or its antibodies has been detected in at least 5 US states, and one Canadian province.

In August 2021, the U.S. National Veterinary Services Laboratory confirmed SARS-CoV-2 in wild white-tailed deer in the state of Ohio.[19][20]

In January 2022, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease confirmed SARS-CoV-2 in wild white-tailed deer in the province of Ontario.[21]

November 2021

Test results of 624 prepandemic and intrapandemic serum samples from wild deer from four states of the U.S.[22]

In November 2021, a Pennsylvania State University pre-print report awaiting peer review was reported on by news sources. The researchers tested roadkill and hunter-killed deer in Iowa between April 2020 and January 2021. They said that they found that up to 80% were infected.[20] CNN has reported that SARS-CoV-2 antibodies were detected in deer Illinois, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania.[23]

Canada's Environment and Climate Change Department announced that SARS-CoV-2 was detected in wild white-tailed deer in Quebec.[24]

A study published on 23 November 2021 indicates that large proportions of the wild deer population in the U.S. have been infected with SARS-CoV-2. The test results showed one "mismatch" in 2019, low inhibition values in 2020 and 152 positive samples (40% having antibodies) in 2021.[22]

It has been pointed out that such reverse zoonosis spillovers may cause reservoirs for mutating variants that could spill back to humans – a possible alternative source for variants of concern in addition to immunocompromised people.[20]

Gorillas

In January 2021, a troop of eight gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park tested positive for COVID-19 after being infected by a zookeeper who was asymptomatic. The gorillas were the first confirmed and known cases of COVID-19 in non-human apes.[25]

Hamsters

In January 2022, a cull of hamsters was announced in Hong Kong. Some 2,000 animals have been expected to be killed after a worker in a pet shop tested positive for the virus, which was also found among the pets. Conscious of the virus' ability to spread among hamsters,[26] and the possibility of transmission between species, in line with the territory's 'zero covid' policy, the cull was invoked.[27]

Marine mammals

Susceptibility

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is typically transmitted through droplets found in breaths, coughs, sneezes, etc. However, recent research shows that the virus can also be transmitted to the marine environment through stool and urine from infected individuals.[28] The virus can also be passed to the oceans through improper disposal of personal protective equipment containing live virus.[29] Marine mammal susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2  has been a topic of concern as there have been past recorded cases of alphacoronavirus and gammacoronavirus in this species.[30] Specifically, studies have been conducted to determine susceptibility using the ACE2 enzyme, the cellular cellular receptor for COVID-19.[28][30] Studies show that variations of the ACE2 enzyme can either increase or decrease the vulnerability of the mammal to contract the virus, depending on if the mutation strengthens or weakens the bonding affinity of the virus to the enzyme.[28] The findings concluded that the most vulnerable mammals include several cetaceans, pinnipeds, and some sea otter species, with some species predicted to have higher than human susceptibility.[28] Unfortunately, many of the species at high or moderate risk of the virus are already classified to be endangered or threatened, such as the Amazon River Dolphin, the Northern sea otter, and many others.[28]

Impact of personal protective equipment (PPE) pollution

Along with the threat of virus entry to the ocean and infection of marine mammals through wastewater treatments, the increased use and improper disposal of personal protective equipment and disinfecting materials poses a great threat to marine mammal wellbeing. Since the pandemic began, the worldwide use of single use masks, hand sanitiser, and other personal protective equipment such as face shields, medical gloves, etc. has surged immensely.[31] This has caused a substantial build up of pollution in the Earth’s oceans. This poses a threat to marine mammals as much of the personal protective equipment used during the pandemic is composed of plastic-based materials that do not easily decompose in a natural environment.[31] These plastic polymers can be and are easily mistaken for a source of food of marine mammals and directly consumed, cause entanglement, or suffocation, all of which can result in damage or death to the mammal species.[32] The use of disinfectants as person protective equipment also threatens the marine mammal ecosystem in a significant way.[30] Many of these disinfectants contain chlorine in their main chemical composition, which in itself is a toxic compound.[30] When chlorine enters the seawater on items such as lysol wipes, hand sanitizers, and various other disinfectants, it reacts chemically to produce halogenated compounds that are toxic to marine biota.[30] This can create either a direct threat to marine mammals due to toxicity, or it can deplete the populations of prey of marine mammals, leaving them vulnerable to starvation.

Wastewater transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in the marine environment

SARS-CoV-2 has been proven to infect the intestinal tract of many patients. Due to its presence in the intestinal tract, it is subject to viral shedding via feces, creating another medium of transmission.[33] Studies have shown the presence of the virus in stool and urine samples of infected patients. This is of high concern due to the potential spreading of virus through untreated wastewater. Once released to an open water system, the virus can survive and disperse quickly. Domestic wastewater systems among Australia, France, Italy and Spain have been found to contain traces of the virus and are vulnerable to it being a form of transmission.[33] The detection of the virus in sewage can thus be a viable early warning method for tracking the concentration of the virus. The ability to detect the virus and its abundance in a given location is important to help mitigate its transmission in the surrounding areas and to marine life.[33] Treatment plans typically involve three procedures. Primary treatment relies on the settling of settleable solids but when used alone it is not an effective way of inhibiting contamination. Secondary treatment involves biological implementation that is applied to remove the settled solids and organic matter from the first step. Tertiary treatment uses additional processes to decrease the amount of nutrients and pathogens.[33] Non-treated and primary-treated wastewater are most at risk for carrying and transmitting SARS-CoV-2. Countries such as Ecuador with poor sanitization mechanisms are in danger of having their sewage systems becoming a source of the virus.[33] The presence of the virus in an open water system creates susceptibility of virus contraction in the marine mammal populations and can thus continue the pandemic from terrestrial to the marine environment.

Change in marine mammal behaviour due to decreased human activity

Due to the reduction in human activity during the pandemic, many marine species were documented to have increased sightings around the globe. This does not indicate an increase in population sizes, however reflects the change in animal behaviour due to the lack of human disturbance.[34] Specifically looking at marine mammals, a non-systematic review of wildlife sightings in online media news worldwide displayed the 27% increase in their sightings from March 17th-June 11th 2020.[34] Human-activity examples that could have affected the increase in these sightings include the reduction of accidental death or injury due to boat collisions, decreases in maritime traffic that causes noise pollution, and an expansion in the habitat in which to live. The sightings included very strikingly visible marine mammals such as baleen whales, dugongs, manatees, dolphins and orcas.[34] These mammals were remarkably noticed due to their size and presence in unexpected areas. An example of this would be the sighting of an animal where there are typically high levels of tourism. The lack of human disturbances explain this phenomenon because it has allowed the animals to migrate outside their typical boundaries. Many marine mammals rely on echolocation which allows them to communicate with others and determine migration routes. Without as much noise pollution and boat traffic, this would have given these animals a chance to travel uninterrupted. The effects of their presences in new areas is yet to be determined as positive or negative, but their change in behaviour is of great significance.

Minks

White minks on a farm in Poland

Cluster 5, a variant of SARS-CoV-2, was found in mink populations and some employees in North Jutland, Denmark in early November 2020. The Danish government culled an estimated 14 million mink as a preventive measure.[35][36] In December 2020 a wild mink in Utah was discovered to be infected with COVID-19, confirmed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.[37]

Snow leopards

An unvaccinated 9-year-old male snow leopard at the San Diego Zoo tested positive for the coronavirus in late July 2021. The staff noticed the leopard had a cough and a runny nose. The caretakers confirmed the diagnosis with two separate stool tests.[25]

In other zoos, COVID-19 has killed snow leopards. In November 2021, three snow leopards died at a zoo in Nebraska, and in January 2022, a snow leopard died at a zoo in Illinois.[38]

Human–animal interaction

Reduced human presence has the potential to bring both relief and disruption to different animal habitats. It may lead to more poaching of endangered wildlife.[39] Wild animals have been observed relaxing their avoidance of human habitats while COVID-19 lockdowns are in effect.[40] Instances have been observed of severe plagues of mice co-occurring with mouse-adapted SARS-CoV-2 virus variants circulating.[41]

Decreased roadkill incidence has been reported during lockdowns, including a significant decrease in roadkill deaths for mountain lions in California.[42]

See also

  • List of animals that can get SARS-CoV-2

References

  1. ^ Daly, Natasha (25 August 2020). "COVID-19's impact on the animal kingdom—so far". National Geographic. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  2. ^ Frutos, Roger; Serra-Cobo, Jordi; Chen, Tianmu; Devaux, Christian A. (5 August 2020). "COVID-19: Time to exonerate the pangolin from the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to humans". Infection, Genetics and Evolution. 84: 104493. doi:10.1016/j.meegid.2020.104493. PMC 7405773. PMID 32768565.
  3. ^ a b c CDC (11 February 2020). "COVID-19 and Your Health". Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  4. ^ "Coronavirus pandemic linked to destruction of wildlife and world's ecosystem". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 27 February 2021.
  5. ^ Johnson, Christine K.; Hitchens, Peta L.; Pandit, Pranav S.; Rushmore, Julie; Evans, Tierra Smiley; Young, Cristin C. W.; Doyle, Megan M. (8 April 2020). "Global shifts in mammalian population trends reveal key predictors of virus spillover risk". Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 287 (1924): 20192736. doi:10.1098/rspb.2019.2736. PMC 7209068. PMID 32259475.
  6. ^ Dean, Grace (5 November 2020). "Denmark says it will cull 17 million mink after discovering a mutated strain of COVID-19 that officials fear could 'restart' the entire global pandemic". Business Insider. Archived from the original on 5 November 2020. Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  7. ^ Finnemann Scheel, Agnete (5 November 2020). "Ny corona-mutation er en kæp i hjulet på vaccinen: Det ved vi om 'cluster 5'" (in Danish). DR. Archived from the original on 5 November 2020. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  8. ^ "Pets linked to maintaining better mental health and reducing loneliness during lockdown, new research shows". ScienceDaily. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  9. ^ "Pets and the pandemic: the impact our animals had on our mental health and wellbeing". The Conversation. 25 January 2021. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  10. ^ "Pets are helping us cope during the pandemic—but that may be stressing them out". National Geographic. 2 February 2021. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  11. ^ Zhou P, Yang XL, Wang XG, Hu B, Zhang L, Zhang W, et al. (February 2020). "A pneumonia outbreak associated with a new coronavirus of probable bat origin". Nature. 579 (7798): 270–273. Bibcode:2020Natur.579..270Z. doi:10.1038/s41586-020-2012-7. PMC 7095418. PMID 32015507.
  12. ^ Perlman S (February 2020). "Another Decade, Another Coronavirus". The New England Journal of Medicine. 382 (8): 760–762. doi:10.1056/NEJMe2001126. PMC 7121143. PMID 31978944.
  13. ^ Benvenuto D, Giovanetti M, Ciccozzi A, Spoto S, Angeletti S, Ciccozzi M (April 2020). "The 2019-new coronavirus epidemic: Evidence for virus evolution". Journal of Medical Virology. 92 (4): 455–459. doi:10.1002/jmv.25688. PMC 7166400. PMID 31994738.
  14. ^ Andersen KG, Rambaut A, Lipkin WI, Holmes EC, Garry RF (17 March 2020). "Correspondence: The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2". Nature Medicine. 26 (4): 450–452. doi:10.1038/s41591-020-0820-9. PMC 7095063. PMID 32284615.
  15. ^ Kuiper, Michael J.; Wilson, Laurence OW; Mangalaganesh, Shruthi; Lee, Carol; Reti, Daniel; Vasan, Seshadri S. (2021). "But Mouse, you are not alone: On some severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 variants infecting mice". ILAR Journal. doi:10.1093/ilar/ilab031. PMID 35022734.
  16. ^ Fenster, Jordan (9 October 2020). "Analysis: 6 animal species dying because of COVID". Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  17. ^ Fujimori, Leila (16 October 2021). "Honolulu Zoo's only male lion dies, tests positive for COVID". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  18. ^ "Eight lions in Indian zoo test positive for COVID-19". CNA. Retrieved 6 May 2021.
  19. ^ Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (27 August 2021). "Confirmation of COVID-19 in Deer in Ohio" (Press release). United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 28 August 2021.
  20. ^ a b c Jacobs, Andrew (2 November 2021). "Widespread Coronavirus Infection Found in Iowa Deer, New Study Says". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 3 November 2021.
  21. ^ Tsekouras, Phil (18 January 2022). "COVID-19 detected for first time in Ontario wildlife". CTV News Toronto. Archived from the original on 18 January 2022. Retrieved 19 January 2022.
  22. ^ a b Chandler, Jeffrey C.; Bevins, Sarah N.; Ellis, Jeremy W.; Linder, Timothy J.; Tell, Rachel M.; Jenkins-Moore, Melinda; Root, J. Jeffrey; Lenoch, Julianna B.; Robbe-Austerman, Suelee; DeLiberto, Thomas J.; Gidlewski, Thomas; Torchetti, Mia Kim; Shriner, Susan A. (23 November 2021). "SARS-CoV-2 exposure in wild white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus)". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 118 (47): e2114828118. Bibcode:2021PNAS..11814828C. doi:10.1073/pnas.2114828118. ISSN 0027-8424. PMC 8617405. PMID 34732584.
  23. ^ Jackson, Jon (22 November 2021). "Deer are catching COVID in these four states". Newsweek. Retrieved 17 December 2021.
  24. ^ "COVID-19 shows up in Canadian wildlife for first time with three Quebec deer infected". CP24. The Canadian Press. 1 December 2021. Retrieved 2 December 2021.
  25. ^ a b Staff Writer (24 July 2021). "Unvaccinated snow leopard at San Diego Zoo catches Covid-19". NBC News. Associated Press. Retrieved 28 July 2021.
  26. ^ Sia, Sin Fun; Yan, Li-Meng; Chin, Alex W. H.; Fung, Kevin; Choy, Ka-Tim; Wong, Alvina Y. L.; Kaewpreedee, Prathanporn; Perera, Ranawaka A. P. M.; Poon, Leo L. M.; Nicholls, John M.; Peiris, Malik (July 2020). "Pathogenesis and transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in golden hamsters". Nature. 583 (7818): 834–838. Bibcode:2020Natur.583..834S. doi:10.1038/s41586-020-2342-5. ISSN 1476-4687. PMC 7394720. PMID 32408338.
  27. ^ "Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam defends Covid hamster cull". www.bbc.co.uk. 22 January 2022. Retrieved 22 January 2022.
  28. ^ a b c d e Mathavarajah, Sabateeshan; Stoddart, Amina K.; Gagnon, Graham A.; Dellaire, Graham (15 March 2021). "Pandemic danger to the deep: The risk of marine mammals contracting SARS-CoV-2 from wastewater". Science of the Total Environment. 760: 143346. Bibcode:2021ScTEn.760n3346M. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.143346. ISSN 0048-9697. PMC 7598747. PMID 33160659.
  29. ^ Nabi, Ghulam; Khan, Suliman (September 2020). "Risk of COVID-19 pneumonia in aquatic mammals". Environmental Research. 188: 109732. Bibcode:2020ER....188j9732N. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2020.109732. ISSN 0013-9351. PMC 7255329. PMID 32502685.
  30. ^ a b c d e Facciolà, Alessio; Laganà, Pasqualina; Caruso, Gabriella (1 October 2021). "The COVID-19 pandemic and its implications on the environment". Environmental Research. 201: 111648. Bibcode:2021ER....201k1648F. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2021.111648. ISSN 0013-9351. PMC 8261195. PMID 34242676.
  31. ^ a b Saadat, Saeida; Rawtani, Deepak; Hussain, Chaudhery Mustansar (1 August 2020). "Environmental perspective of COVID-19". Science of the Total Environment. 728: 138870. Bibcode:2020ScTEn.728m8870S. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.138870. ISSN 0048-9697. PMC 7194675. PMID 32335408.
  32. ^ Benson, Nsikak U.; Bassey, David E.; Palanisami, Thavamani (1 February 2021). "COVID pollution: impact of COVID-19 pandemic on global plastic waste footprint". Heliyon. 7 (2): e06343. doi:10.1016/j.heliyon.2021.e06343. ISSN 2405-8440. PMC 7896824. PMID 33655084.
  33. ^ a b c d e Ormaza-Gonzaìlez, Franklin I.; Castro-Rodas, Divar; Statham, Peter J. (2021). "COVID-19 Impacts on Beaches and Coastal Water Pollution at Selected Sites in Ecuador, and Management Proposals Post-pandemic". Frontiers in Marine Science. 8. doi:10.3389/fmars.2021.669374. ISSN 2296-7745.
  34. ^ a b c Coll, Marta (17 December 2020). "Environmental effects of the COVID-19 pandemic from a (marine) ecological perspective". Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics. 20: 41–55. doi:10.3354/esep00192. ISSN 1611-8014. S2CID 230564917.
  35. ^ "SARS-CoV-2 mink-associated variant strain – Denmark". World Health Organization. Archived from the original on 6 November 2020. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  36. ^ Simmons, Dan. "Mink farmers are skipping to the front of the vaccine line — for an important reason". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  37. ^ "What Happens If COVID-19 Infects Wild Animals?". Tufts Now. 25 January 2021. Retrieved 27 February 2021.
  38. ^ Haq, Sana Noor (8 January 2022). "Snow leopard dies at Illinois zoo after contracting Covid-19". CNN. Archived from the original on 8 January 2022. Retrieved 9 January 2022.
  39. ^ Rutz, Christian; Loretto, Matthias-Claudio; Bates, Amanda E.; Davidson, Sarah C.; Duarte, Carlos M.; Jetz, Walter; Johnson, Mark; Kato, Akiko; Kays, Roland; Mueller, Thomas; Primack, Richard B. (September 2020). "COVID-19 lockdown allows researchers to quantify the effects of human activity on wildlife". Nature Ecology & Evolution. 4 (9): 1156–1159. doi:10.1038/s41559-020-1237-z. ISSN 2397-334X. PMID 32572222. S2CID 219976980.
  40. ^ Goldman, Jason G. "How the Coronavirus Has Changed Animals' Landscape of Fear". Scientific American. Retrieved 27 February 2021.
  41. ^ Kuiper, Michael J.; Wilson, Laurence OW; Mangalaganesh, Shruthi; Reti, Daniel; Vasan, Seshadri S. (5 August 2021). "'But Mouse, you are not alone: On some severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 variants infecting mice'". bioRxiv. doi:10.1101/2021.08.04.455042. S2CID 236953129.
  42. ^ Bittel, Jason. "Pandemic shutdowns saved thousands of animals from becoming roadkill, report suggests". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 27 February 2021.

External links

Media files used on this page

Coronavirus. SARS-CoV-2.png
Author/Creator: Alexey Solodovnikov (Idea, Producer, CG, Editor), Valeria Arkhipova (Scientific Сonsultant), Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
Scientifically accurate atomic model of the external structure of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome CoronaVirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), a strain (genetic variant) of the coronavirus that caused Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), first identified in Wuhan, China, during December 2019

Each separate locus (amorphous blob) is an atom of:

  cobalt: membrane
  crimson: E protein
  green: M protein
  orange: glucose (glycan)
  turquoise : S (spike) glycoprotein
SARS-CoV-2 (Wikimedia colors).svg
Author/Creator: Geraki, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
SARS-CoV-2 logo in Wikimedia colors
SARS-CoV-2 serological results for white-tailed deer tested with the Genscript cPass sVNT.jpg
Author/Creator: Authors of the study: Jeffrey C. Chandler, Sarah N. Bevins, Jeremy W. Ellis, Timothy J. Linder, Rachel M. Tell, Melinda Jenkins-Moore, J. Jeffrey Root, Julianna B. Lenoch, Suelee Robbe-Austerman, Thomas J. DeLiberto, Thomas Gidlewski, Mia Kim Torchetti, and Susan A. Shriner, Licence: CC BY 4.0
"Boxplot of SARS-CoV-2 serological results for WTD tested with the Genscript cPass sVNT. Boxes outline the interquartile range, which is the range of the middle 50% of values, horizontal bars are medians, and dots are individual sample results." "Most of the detections from 2021 had high percent inhibition values (80 to 100%) while the 2019 to 2020 detections had relatively low values (30.03 to 43.72) (Fig. 1). Values ≥30.00 are considered positive per the manufacturer’s instructions."
DSC 0377 (8413679878).jpg
Author/Creator: Otwarte Klatki, Licence: CC BY 2.0

Szokujące materiały z fermy norek należącej do Andrzeja Piątaka, posła Ruchu Palikota, opublikowane przez Stowarzyszenie Otwarte Klatki. Dowiedz się więcej: <a href="https://www.facebook.com/otwarteklatki" rel="nofollow">www.facebook.com/otwarteklatki</a> <a href="http://www.otwarteklatki.pl" rel="nofollow">www.otwarteklatki.pl</a>

<a href="http://www.antyfutro.pl" rel="nofollow">www.antyfutro.pl</a>
German shepherd enjoying the sun.jpg
Author/Creator: PROPOLI87, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
During the quarantine period in Italy for COVID-19, a German shepherd enjoys the sun in the garden, unable to go out.