Scientists Find Evidence Gay Couple Gave Monkeypox To Their Dog, CDC Updates Guidance

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Dylan Housman Deputy News Editor
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its guidance Friday to cover transmission to animals after a paper published in The Lancet found evidence of transmission from human to animals in France.

The Lancet paper highlighted the case of two gay men in France who are believed to have spread monkeypox to their dog. The case is the first known example during the current outbreak in the Americas and Europe of transmission from humans to an animal.

Two men in France, one aged 44 with HIV and the other aged 27 without, came to a Paris hospital with skin lesions on June 10 and were subsequently diagnosed with monkeypox. 12 days after the onset of their symptoms, their four-year-old male Italian greyhound developed lesions as well. The dog was given a PCR test which came back positive for monkeypox.

Genetic sequencing of the dog’s virus and the virus found in one of the men confirmed them to be exact matches. The two men, who lived together but had a variety of sexual partners, said they shared a sleeping space with the dog at night.

The authors of the Lancet paper suggest that the virus found in the dog was a “real canine disease” and not a simple carriage of the human virus in an animal, and that individuals should consider isolating animals from monkeypox-positive people. (RELATED: One-In-Five Gay Men Who Got Monkeypox Had Sex With 10 Or More People Before Getting Infected, CDC Says)

After this case was published, the CDC proceeded to update its guidance to list which animals are susceptible to contracting monkeypox and how human-animal transmission might take place. The agency does not recommend isolating pets from monkeypox patients.

The CDC also has not recommended that gay and bisexual men limit their number of sexual partners to reduce risk of spreading monkeypox, despite the World Health Organization making that recommendation weeks ago. Both the WHO and the Biden administration have declared monkeypox a public health emergency.