A note from EndFIP leadership (very informative)

This highly informative article is published here with the kind permission of my friend, Maria Bonito.

The link to the FB post: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EndFIPInvictus/permalink/633072414200861/

The article: 

Note from the EndFIP® Leadership Team – Follow up to post released on March 15
We recognize that we are all in unchartered territory, trying to make sense of multiple news sources and advisories on the threat and spread of the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) at the center of the current pandemic (Covid-19), and thinking about how we can protect ourselves, our families, our friends, and our pets.
Our team at EndFIP® is working diligently to plan ahead and keep you informed. I want to assure you that we are taking the Coronavirus situation very seriously, and we’re doing all we can to prepare for any scenario that might arise. Because the situation with the spread of the virus is fluid, we must be flexible, and as usual, resourceful.
In recent days, some media reports have shown that the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) can infect our companion animals – and more exotic species like tigers – but cases are RARE. Even though this information regarding companion animals has been widely spread recently, it is NOT new as the World Health Organization on an update released on March 13 indicated that pets can get infected, but there is NO evidence that pets can spread the disease or that the disease can cause an animal to fall ill. The WHO advises washing your hands with soap and water before/after contact with pets. It’s the pet owners, rather than pets, that have a higher risk of spreading the virus.
At this time, it is extremely important to keep in mind that in issues involving medicine and science, we all need to act based on facts and not fear, evidence and not emotions.
Here’s some well documented facts about SARS-CoV2 (formerly 2019 nCoV) / Covid-19:
· SARS-CoV2 is a betacoronavirus, transmission occurs when there is contact with an infected person’s bodily secretions (saliva or mucus droplets in a cough or sneeze). Person-to-person and community spread has been reported in 209 Countries and Territories around the world. Those interested in obtaining more information about the number of reported cases worldwide, please visit: www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/countries-where-coronavirus-has-spread/
· Two dogs (Hong Kong) and two cats (one in Belgium and one in Hong Kong) living with people diagnosed with Covid-19have been reported to have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 but other dogs and cats also living with infected people remain uninfected. More information about these matters can be found at: https://www.oie.int/en/scientific-expertise/specific-information-and-recommendations/questions-and-answers-on-2019novel-coronavirus/
· The presence of SARS-CoV-2 in one tiger at the Bronx Zoo was confirmed by the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratories. Other lions and tigers at the Zoo showed clinical signs of respiratory illness. Public health employees believe the large cats became ill after being exposed to an asymptomatic zookeeper who was actively shedding the virus. No other animals were affected and all large cats are expected to recover. Both the USDA and the CDC are monitoring this situation closely and the OIE will be notified accordingly. More information about this issue can be found at: www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/newsroom/news/sa_by_date/sa-2020/ny-zoo-covid-19
Thanks to 24/7 news cycle, and social media, we are now treated to an unrelenting play-by-play of shocking, distressing and upsetting daily stories about the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition, new research articles have been posted to open-access sites creating more doubts and fears about the possibility of SARS-COV-2 infection in household pets. It is worthwhile to note the study these articles are referring to was conducted in China and it is yet to be peer-reviewed. These experiments were performed in a laboratory setting and high doses of the coronavirus were used to deliberately infect the animals, this does NOT reflect real-life conditions.
*** To date, infectious disease experts and multiple international and domestic human and animal health organizations continue to agree that there is NO evidence to indicate that under natural conditions, pets spread Covid-19 to people.
*** At this time the CDC has NOT received any reports of pets becoming sick with Covid-19 in the United States.
We understand these times can be challenging, and we are here to help you and your cats. I want to personally thank you for being an important member of the EndFIP® global community and remind you that both the World Health Organization and the CDC have dedicated websites that include details about what you should know, situation updates, travel information, how to protect yourself, and more. We encourage you to review those websites *(links at the bottom), and take any recommended actions to protect your health.
If you have symptoms that concerns you, please visit your healthcare provider immediately.
As we continue to practice social distancing and stay at home, it is inevitable that you and your family will have more frequent contact with your cats, and other pets. There is still a lot we don’t know about transmission of SARS-CoV-2, but the most important point to reiterate is: There is absolutely NO evidence whatsoever that pets and companion animals play any role in the epidemiology of Covid-19. Once again, we take this opportunity to re-assure you that SARS-CoV-2 cannot be transmitted FROM your pet to you.
Out of an abundance of caution and until more is known about this virus. If you suspect you are ill with Covid-19 the recommendation from the US Centers for Disease Control and Preventions is to: “restrict contact with pets and other animals, just like you would around other people”. As a loving and responsible pet parent, you want to protect your pet thus the best method of protection remains prevention.
On a closing note, now more than ever it is of utmost importance to act based on evidence and properly documented facts and above all use common sense (sadly it is the less common of all the senses though) and practice healthy habits around pets and other animals. Including but not limited to:
· Wash your hands thoroughly after handling animals, their waste, food or supplies
· Practice good pet hygiene
· Clean up after pets properly
· Talk to your veterinarian about your pet’s health specific situation
Once again…It’s the pet owners, rather than pets, that have a higher risk of spreading the virus. We are confident that no one in our EndFIP® family will consider giving up their pets. We trust that you will help us to spread the word and educate less informed people, to prevent ignorance based needless abandonment of pets.
More information about all these serious matters can be found by visiting:
Stay safe and be well,
Maria S. Bonino
EndFIP® | Luca Fund for FIP Research
*Coronavirus COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) Resources
EndFIP® has a vision: every cat a heathy cat. Our focus is to educate, inform and inspire people to create lasting solutions to prevent cats from becoming infected with feline coronavirus, thus preventing FIP altogether. Our vision expands beyond the boundaries of FIP thus we also like to provide information about other issues affecting cats (and their humans) worldwide.

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