Pet hamsters, gerbils and guinea pigs belonging to monkeypox patients should “ideally be isolated” in government laboratories, according to European health authorities.
In a worst case scenario where monitored isolation and regular testing is unfeasible, the agency suggested a cull should be considered as “a last resort” to prevent the disease gaining a permanent foothold in the region.
So far, 90 cases have been detected across the UK since the virus was first identified in England in early May - including 12 on Thursday - while 344 suspected or confirmed cases have been reported in more than 20 countries worldwide.
Pet rodents – including hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs and mice – are considered most at risk, as they are known to be susceptible to the disease.
“Rodent pets should ideally be isolated in monitored facilities, complying with respiratory isolation (e.g. a laboratory) and animal welfare conditions (e.g. government facilities, kennels or animal welfare organisations), and tested (by PCR) for exposure before quarantine ends,” the ECDC said.
“Euthanasia should only be a last resort reserved to situations where testing and/or isolation are not feasible,” experts added.
When Covid-19 jumped to mink in Denmark, millions were culled to prevent the spread of Sars-Cov-2. »