CAROLINA — More than 10,000 pets have died across the U.S. in what is the worst outbreak of coronavirus in the U, a pet health organization says.
The outbreak has spread from the Carolinas to Louisiana and Tennessee and is spreading faster than the rest of the country, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.
The group said the total number of pets infected so far in North Carolina and Louisiana is more than 10 times the number that died in the United States last year.
The APMAA says the outbreak started in the Carolines in early July and has killed at least 18 dogs and cats.
The number of infected pets has soared from 6,917 last week to 11,500 on Wednesday, according the group.
The APMAAA says coronaviruses are spread by close contact with infected pets and are spread through direct contact with body fluids, such as feces, vomit or blood.
In the past year, at least five pet owners in North Dakota and Kentucky have died after they got close to an infected dog or cat.
The CDC says the virus is spreading rapidly, killing more than 100,000 people in just the first two months of this year alone.
“As the numbers continue to increase, we need to keep an eye on the transmission, as well as the risk posed by the virus,” Dr. William Schaffner, assistant director of the CDC’s Division of Vector-borne Diseases, said Wednesday at a press conference.
“We are still at the early stages of this outbreak.
The virus is changing, but we are not at the end of this pandemic.
We are in a period of heightened risk.”
The Associated Press reported that pet owners who have pets infected are being urged to keep their pets indoors, take them to the vet, and keep them isolated from other pets.