Can my pet be affected by the Zika virus?
Zika virus has been all over the news lately, especially in stories related to the virus causing birth defects in babies born to mothers infected with the virus during pregnancy. Zika is spread by mosquitoes of the Aedes species and can also be transmitted sexually as well as from mother to child during pregnancy. While Zika is not found naturally in the United States, people in the U.S. have tested positive after traveling to affected countries. Zika is active in Africa, parts of Asia, the Pacific Islands and Brazil as well as in U.S. territories like Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and American Samoa.
Is Zika virus a threat to our pets? According to the CDC, animals do not appear to be affected by Zika virus as there are no reports of illness in companion animals; however, more research is needed. The CDC also states that animals do not serve as reservoirs for the virus and are not involved in spreading the virus. Animals in the United States are not at risk for Zika virus. Zika virus HAS been found in monkeys and other non-human primates but they do not appear to become seriously ill. The bottom line is, at this time, animals in the United States should not be affected with Zika virus and they play no part in infecting humans. Please use proper precautions for yourself if you are traveling to areas where Zika virus is found. More information can be found at www.cdc.gov.
Submitted by: Dr. Sabrina Walters