Monkeypox has been diagnosed in a dog, making it the first known instance of a human-to-pet transmission of the disease.
A study in the medical journal The Lancet claimed that the four-year-old Italian greyhound and its owners had been sleeping together in their France home.
Scientists said the infection among domesticated animals such as cats and dogs has never been reported – and they are calling for more awareness and debate on the need to isolate pets from people with monkeypox.
The dog’s owners went to a hospital in Paris on 10 June after developing ulcers.
Less than two weeks later, the dog showed symptoms such as lesions on its abdomen before it was confirmed by researchers at Sorbonne University that it also had monkeypox.
“Our findings should prompt debate on the need to isolate pets from monkeypox virus-positive individuals,” the researchers wrote in the report.
“We call for further investigation on secondary transmissions via pets.”
Even after the dog became ill, the owners allowed it to sleep with them, although they “had been careful” to keep the greyhound away from other animals or people.
As of the end of last week, more than 80 countries had reported instances of monkeypox, infecting over 1,700 people in France.
Over 31,400 confirmed cases have been reported globally.
More than 3,000 instances have been documented in the UK, the most of which are in London.
Although the monkeypox outbreak “shows signs of lessening” across the nation, health experts believe it’s still too early to tell if the reduction will be sustained.