(A woman holds her dog that is wearing a protective mask as well, as they stand in the street on Feb. 7, 2020, in Beijing)[Getty/Kyodo]
The pet dog of a Hong Kong coronavirus patient has contracted the virus, marking the first reported case of human-to-animal transmission, local authorities said Thursday.
After nasal and oral samples taken from the 17-year-old Pomeranian returned a "weak positive" result for the virus, a blood test confirmed it was actually infected.
"The dog should be the world's first positively tested case," Thomas Sit, assistant director of the Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, told reporters.
Sit said that experts who were consulted agreed that the animal was likely infected by its owner, adding that the World Organization for Animal Health was notified of the results.
The dog is not showing any symptoms and will be returned to its owner as soon as it tests negative.
Sit said that while there is no evidence that pets can get sick from the coronavirus, good hygiene practices are recommended when handling animals to prevent human-to-animal transmission.