Wash your hands when handling pets, says DG

A four-year-old Malayan tiger named Nadia in a New York zoo is reported to have contracted Covid-19. (AP pic)

PETALING JAYA: Animal lovers were reminded today to practise good hygiene when in close contact with pets, after concerns were expressed whether animals could get infected by Covid-19.

“Wash your hands before and after handling them,” health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a statement following news reports of a Malayan tiger being infected with Covid-19 in a New York zoo.

He said the health ministry will work closely with the Veterinary Department for further advice on this matter, as people were unable to keep their distance from pets considered to be part of the family,

Noor Hisham’s statement comes in the wake of reports that a four-year-old female Malayan tiger at the Bronx Zoo tested positive for the virus.

The tiger, named Nadia, is the first case of an animal infected with Covid-19 in the US.

Last month, AFP reported that Belgian health authorities confirmed that a pet cat was infected with Covid-19 after being contaminated by its owner.

There were similar cases in Hong Kong where two dogs tested positive for the virus during a screening campaign carried on pets living in contact with people who had Covid-19.

But AFP also reported that cases of contamination of pets are rare and authorities ruled out any risk of contamination to humans from home animals.