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Coronavirus in cat flea: findings and questions regarding COVID-19

AuthorsVillar, Margarita ; Fernández de Mera, Isabel G.; Artigas-Jerónimo, Sara; Contreras, Marinela; Gortázar, Christian ; Fuente, José de la
Issue Date10-Aug-2020
PublisherBioMed Central
CitationParasites and Vectors 13: 409 (2020)
AbstractThe coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARSCoV-2) has afected millions of people worldwide. Recent evidence raised the question about the possibility that cats may be a domestic host for SARS-CoV-2 with unknown implications in disease dissemination. Based on the fact that the domestic cat fea, Ctenocephalides felis, are abundant ectoparasites infesting humans, companion animals and wildlife and that coronavirus-like agents have been identifed in the ectoparasite tick vector, Ixodes uriae of seabirds, herein we considered the presence of coronaviruses in general and SARS-CoV-2 in particular in C. felis. We identi‑ fed coronavirus-derived and cell receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme RNA/proteins in C. felis. Although cur‑ rent evidence suggests that pets are probably dead-end-hosts with small risk of transmission to humans, our results suggested that cat fea may act as biological and/or mechanical vectors of SARS-CoV. Although preliminary, these results indicate a possibility of ectoparasites acting as reservoirs and vectors of SARS-CoV and related beta-coronavirus although with little disease risk due to systemic transmission route, low viremia, virus attenuation or other unknown factors. These results support the need to further study the role of animal SARS-CoV-2 hosts and their ectoparasite vectors in COVID-19 disease spread.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1186/s13071-020-04292-y
Appears in Collections:(IREC) Artículos
(VICYT) Colección Especial COVID-19
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