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Article

Detection and Genome Sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 in a Domestic Cat with Respiratory Signs in Switzerland

1
Clinical Laboratory, Vetsuisse Faculty, Department of Clinical Diagnostics and Services, and Center for Clinical Studies, University of Zurich, Winterthurerstrasse 260, 8057 Zurich, Switzerland
2
Clinic for Small Animal Internal Medicine, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Zurich, Winterthurerstrasse 260, 8057 Zurich, Switzerland
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Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering, ETH Zurich, 4058 Basel, Switzerland
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SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, 4058 Basel, Switzerland
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Department of Biomolecular Health Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Utrecht, 3584 CL Utrecht, The Netherlands
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Institute for Virology and Immunology IVI, Sensemattstrasse 293, 3147 Mittelhäusern, Switzerland
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Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern, 3001 Bern, Switzerland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
On behalf of ETH SARS-CoV-2 Sequencing Team: Chaoran Chen, Ivan Topolsky, Pedro Ferreira, Philipp Jablonski, Susana Posada-Céspedes, Rebecca Denes, Ina Nissen, Natascha Santacroce, Elodie Burcklen, Niko Beerenwinkel; Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering, ETH Zurich, 4058 Basel, Switzerland, and SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, Basel, Switzerland.
Academic Editor: Luis Martinez-Sobrido
Viruses 2021, 13(3), 496; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13030496
Received: 17 February 2021 / Revised: 2 March 2021 / Accepted: 12 March 2021 / Published: 17 March 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viral Infections in Companion Animals)
Since the emergence of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in late 2019, domestic cats have been demonstrated to be susceptible to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) under natural and experimental conditions. As pet cats often live in very close contact with their owners, it is essential to investigate SARS-CoV-2 infections in cats in a One-Health context. This study reports the first SARS-CoV-2 infection in a cat in a COVID-19-affected household in Switzerland. The cat (Cat 1) demonstrated signs of an upper respiratory tract infection, including sneezing, inappetence, and apathy, while the cohabiting cat (Cat 2) remained asymptomatic. Nasal, oral, fecal, fur, and environmental swab samples were collected twice from both cats and analyzed by RT-qPCR for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA. Both nasal swabs from Cat 1 tested positive. In addition, the first oral swab from Cat 2 and fur and bedding swabs from both cats were RT-qPCR positive. The fecal swabs tested negative. The infection of Cat 1 was confirmed by positive SARS-CoV-2 S1 receptor binding domain (RBD) antibody testing and neutralizing activity in a surrogate assay. The viral genome sequence from Cat 1, obtained by next generation sequencing, showed the closest relation to a human sequence from the B.1.1.39 lineage, with one single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) difference. This study demonstrates not only SARS-CoV-2 infection of a cat from a COVID-19-affected household but also contamination of the cats’ fur and bed with viral RNA. Our results are important to create awareness that SARS-CoV-2 infected people should observe hygienic measures to avoid infection and contamination of animal cohabitants. View Full-Text
Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; domestic cat; companion animals; next generation sequencing; serology; neutralizing activity; human-to-feline transmission; contamination; One-Health SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; domestic cat; companion animals; next generation sequencing; serology; neutralizing activity; human-to-feline transmission; contamination; One-Health
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MDPI and ACS Style

Klaus, J.; Meli, M.L.; Willi, B.; Nadeau, S.; Beisel, C.; Stadler, T.; ETH SARS-CoV-2 Sequencing Team; Egberink, H.; Zhao, S.; Lutz, H.; Riond, B.; Rösinger, N.; Stalder, H.; Renzullo, S.; Hofmann-Lehmann, R. Detection and Genome Sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 in a Domestic Cat with Respiratory Signs in Switzerland. Viruses 2021, 13, 496. https://doi.org/10.3390/v13030496

AMA Style

Klaus J, Meli ML, Willi B, Nadeau S, Beisel C, Stadler T, ETH SARS-CoV-2 Sequencing Team, Egberink H, Zhao S, Lutz H, Riond B, Rösinger N, Stalder H, Renzullo S, Hofmann-Lehmann R. Detection and Genome Sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 in a Domestic Cat with Respiratory Signs in Switzerland. Viruses. 2021; 13(3):496. https://doi.org/10.3390/v13030496

Chicago/Turabian Style

Klaus, Julia, Marina L. Meli, Barbara Willi, Sarah Nadeau, Christian Beisel, Tanja Stadler, ETH SARS-CoV-2 Sequencing Team, Herman Egberink, Shan Zhao, Hans Lutz, Barbara Riond, Nina Rösinger, Hanspeter Stalder, Sandra Renzullo, and Regina Hofmann-Lehmann. 2021. "Detection and Genome Sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 in a Domestic Cat with Respiratory Signs in Switzerland" Viruses 13, no. 3: 496. https://doi.org/10.3390/v13030496

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