Norovirus – just hearing the word might make you feel a little queasy. According to the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), noroviruses are the leading cause of illness and outbreaks from contaminated food in the country. But, can this virus be passed from dogs to humans? Let’s dive into the topic and find out.
A Highly Contagious Virus
Norovirus is highly contagious, often spreading rapidly in homes, schools, businesses, and even cruise ships. It can be transmitted through contaminated food, touching infected surfaces, or by coming into contact with someone who already has the virus. The CDC estimates that as few as 18 virus particles are enough to cause illness in people. Common symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, fever, headache, and body aches, lasting from one to three days.
If you’ve ever lived with dogs, you might have noticed them experiencing similar symptoms, especially when they coincide with your own illness. This similarity raises the question: Can dogs contract norovirus, and can the virus be transmitted between dogs and humans?
A Question of Cross-Infection
To answer this question, scientists have conducted several studies. In 2012, researchers in Helsinki, Finland examined stool samples from dogs living closely with people who had recently experienced vomiting and diarrhea. Surprisingly, they found human norovirus in the fecal samples of four dogs that had been in direct contact with symptomatic individuals. These dogs showed mild symptoms, suggesting that dogs can harbor the virus and potentially play a role in its transmission to humans.
Human Norovirus in Dogs
In 2015, another study titled “Evidence for Human Norovirus Infection of Dogs in the United Kingdom” confirmed that human norovirus could bind to canine gastrointestinal tissues. The research also found that 13% of the dogs in the study had antibodies against human norovirus in their bloodstream, indicating previous infection. Strikingly, the types of human noroviruses found in dogs mirrored those circulating in their human communities.
Practice Meticulous Hygiene
While there is currently no evidence of human norovirus infections in dogs or cats, these studies suggest that dogs could potentially serve as a reservoir for the virus. However, it’s important to note that there have been no further reports on this topic since the aforementioned studies. Nevertheless, until we have more conclusive evidence regarding the ability of noroviruses to cross between species, it is wise to practice meticulous hygiene if anyone in the family develops vomiting or diarrhea.
If you have concerns about norovirus or any other health-related issues, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional or your veterinarian.
To learn more about norovirus, you can visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. Additionally, Katten TrimSalon is an excellent resource for all things related to pet health and wellbeing.
Click here to explore Katten TrimSalon and discover valuable information on keeping your furry friends healthy and happy.
Remember, knowledge and prevention are key in safeguarding the health of both humans and our beloved pets. Stay informed, stay safe!