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10 Dec, 2021 14:27

Suspected mice-to-human Covid transmission investigated

Suspected mice-to-human Covid transmission investigated

Authorities in Taiwan are conducting an investigation over a laboratory employee testing positive for Covid after being bitten by coronavirus-infected mice. It marked the island’s first reported case in weeks.

The woman, who worked at Academia Sinica, Taiwan’s top research institute, came down with Covid last month. Health authorities confirmed that she had been bitten twice by mice infected with the coronavirus. It is still not known beyond a reasonable doubt that the lab employee was infected through those bites. Yet, the country’s health minister, Chen Shih-chung, is quoted as saying that the “possibility of infection from the workplace is higher because we have zero confirmed infections in the community.

The woman in question had no recent travel history and, besides, had been inoculated with Moderna’s Covid vaccine, according to reports. On top of that, the lab she worked at is said to maintain a very high bio-safety security level. Close to 100 people who have been in contact with the infected lab employee have been placed in quarantine.

Taiwan, with over 23 million people, has one of the lowest Covid infection rates, thanks to it being completely sea-locked and authorities putting in place strict lockdowns early on during the pandemic. To date, Taiwan has recorded only 16,704 Covid infections and a total of 848 deaths – figures which stand in stark contrast to the grim statistics from most other regions.

Cats and dogs have often been reported to catch the disease from their owners. In a recent case in Belgium, two hippos at the Antwerp Zoo also tested positive. The good news, though, is that animals tend to fare much better than humans, with no or only mild symptoms. There is no evidence that infected pets can pass Covid on to humans.