What do you need to know about coronavirus?
Published on February 28, 2020
The AVMA is collecting information about potential veterinary supply chain issues related to the outbreak of COVID-19. This effort supports the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) work to identify and mitigate potential supply shortages.
The COVID-19 outbreak has raised concern about potential medical supply issues, including both pharmaceuticals and medical products such as personal protective equipment. As of Friday, February 28, no shortages were reported by any animal drug companies that make finished drugs or source active pharmaceutical ingredients in China for the U.S. market. However, six of the 32 firms told the FDA they were seeing supply chain disruptions that soon could lead to shortages.
FDA officials said they were working with the firms to identify interventions to mitigate potential shortages, and had done similar work on the medical product/device side. The agency is sharing information on its website about the availability of drugs and medical supplies.
The AVMA is supporting the FDA’s efforts by gathering information about drug needs and related concerns from veterinarians, practices/practice groups, and veterinary distributors. Please email information about any supply chain issues of concern to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include detailed information about the product of concern and its manufacturer/distributor if possible.
Friday, February 28, also brought news that a dog in Hong Kong was quarantined after samples obtained from its nasal cavity and mouth tested “weak positive” for the virus that causes COVID-19. The dog’s owner has tested positive for the virus (SARS-CoV-2, formerly called 2019-nCoV) and has COVID-19.
The implications of a “weak positive” test result are unclear, and it’s unknown if the presence of the virus is due to infection, environmental contamination, cross-reactivity, or even potential issues with the test itself. Hong Kong officials said the dog showed no clinical signs of illness, has been quarantined and is being cared for, and will continue to be monitored and tested to determine its status.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), no animals in the United States have been identified with the virus, and there is no evidence that dogs or other pets can contract or spread COVID-19.
Health officials across the U.S. remain on high alert due to COVID-19, and veterinary professionals might receive questions about the virus from other staff members and clients. Here’s what veterinary professionals need to know about the SARS-CoV-2 virus and COVID-19:
- Right now, the primary concern is for human health. The virus causes flu-like symptoms in people, including mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.
- At this time, experts have not expressed concern about transmission to or from animals. Multiple international health organizations have indicated that pets and other domestic animals are not considered at risk for contracting COVID-19.
- As always, animal owners should continue to include pets and other animals in their emergency preparedness planning, including keeping a two-week supply of food and medications on hand.
- The COVID-19 outbreak began in Wuhan City, Hubei province, China.
- Initial reports implicated a seafood and animal market in Wuhan City, but person-to-person spread has been indicated in numerous countries.
- There is no antiviral agent proven to be effective against this disease, and there is no immunization available.
- The immediate health risk to the general public in the U.S. is still considered low, although the CDC considers the virus a very serious public health threat.
- The coronavirus responsible for COVID-19 is designated SARS-CoV-2 (formerly 2019-nCoV).
- The CDC is tracking updated information about COVID-19 cases worldwide and in the United States.
- The U.S. State Department has issued the following travel advisories referring to COVID-19: Level 4: Do not travel for China and Iran; Level 3: Reconsider travel for Mongolia and South Korea; and Level 2: Exercise increased caution for Italy, Japan, Hong Kong, and Macau.