The deadly COVID-19 epidemic might not just be a human problem.
On Friday, CNBC reports, officials at the World Health Organization confirmed that mouth and nose swabs from a dog in Hong Kong found low concentrations of the virus, which they characterized as a “weakly positive” result.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the dog in question is a Pomeranian belonging to a 60-year-old woman who has been diagnosed with the virus. The Pomeranian showed no symptoms, but another dog and a cat suspected of having the virus both tested negative.
Vanessa Barrs, a professor of veterinary medicine at the University of Sydney who spoke to the WSJ, urged caution. She said that the finding doesn’t mean that dogs can get sick from the virus or transmit it back to humans.
“People should not panic,” she told the paper. “Pets are very unlikely to be contributing to the spread of COVID-19.”
But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising that people with COVID-19 “avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food.”
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READ MORE: Hong Kong Says Pets of Coronavirus Patients Need to Be Quarantined [The Wall Street Journal]