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VERIFY: Yes, health officials encourage people with monkeypox to isolate from pets, too

Since monkeypox is zoonotic, meaning it can pass between humans and animals, doctors say it's important to prevent spread to household pets.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — North Carolina's state health agency reports more than 100 monkeypox cases, with more than half reported in Mecklenburg County.

In their contact tracing efforts, Mecklenburg County health officials said they have been treating everyone in the house of a monkeypox-infected person as a close contact.

But what about pets, which have close contact with members of a household, too? Some viruses found in humans are also a concern for animals, while others are not.

The Question

Is it possible for monkeypox to pass from a person to a pet?

The Sources

  • Dr. Linda Bell, State Epidemiologist, SCDHEC
  • The CDC

The Answer

This is true.

Yes, it is possible for monkeypox to pass from people to pets, and vice versa. 

"Pets in the home are a concern," Bell said.

Monkeypox is considered a “zoonotic” disease, meaning it can pass between humans and animals. Because of that, the CDC recommends a person with monkeypox isolate from pets in the home, in addition to isolating from other people.

The agency recommends avoiding close contact with the animal and making sure it stays away from soiled clothing, linens, and used bandages.

"Spread from animals to humans, or humans to animals, is a possibility," Bell said.

While the CDC says it's still learning which species can get infected, it has already identified several that can, and many more that are unknown, but confirmed to be susceptible to viral relatives of monkeypox.

It tells owners to look out for symptoms similar to those in humans, such as fatigue, fever, cough, and a blister-like rash.

The CDC says not to surrender, euthanize, or abandon any pets just because of a potential exposure or confirmed case of monkeypox, and to see a veterinarian with any concerns.

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