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First Confirmed Dog Virus Case Isn't NC Pug

German shepherd in NY does have the virus
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 3, 2020 7:04 PM CDT

(Newser) – More than 1.8 million American humans have been infected with the coronavirus, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. The number of confirmed infections in American dogs, meanwhile, stands at one—but it's not the pug that initially tested positive in April. The US Department of Agriculture said Tuesday that a German shepherd in New York is the first US canine with a confirmed case of COVID-19, USA Today reports. The USDA, which is responsible for testing animals for the virus, says the dog was tested "after it showed signs of respiratory illness." One of its owners also tested positive for COVID-19, and while a second dog in the household showed no signs of illness, "antibodies were also identified in that dog, suggesting exposure."

The German shepherd is expected to make a full recovery. As for Winston, the North Carolina pug, researchers say no antibodies were detected, meaning he never had the virus, Duke Today reports. Three people in the home where he lived were infected, and researchers believe Winston may have picked up enough of the virus from surfaces in the home for an oral swab to return a "weak" positive result. The USDA says while people infected with the virus should avoid close contact with pets, "based on the limited information available, the risk of animals spreading the virus to people is considered to be low," and "there is no justification in taking measures against companion animals that may compromise their welfare." (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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