Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 From Human to Domestic Ferret

Jožko Račnik; Ana Kočevar; Brigita Slavec; Miša Korva; Katarina Resman Rus; Samo Zakotnik; Tomaž Mark Zorec; Mario Poljak; Milan Matko; Olga Zorman Rojs; Tatjana Avšič Županc


Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2021;27(9):2450-2453. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


We report a case of natural infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 transmitted from an owner to a pet ferret in the same household in Slovenia. The ferret had onset of gastroenteritis with severe dehydration. Whole-genome sequencing of the viruses isolated from the owner and ferret revealed a 2-nt difference.


Natural infections with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in domestic animals living in infected households have been reported.[1] Because of their increased popularity as a pet,[2] domestic ferrets (Mustela putorius furo) pose a high risk for transmitting anthropozoonotic infections. A recent study in Spain showed that natural SARS-CoV-2 infections can occur in ferrets kept as working animals for rabbit hunting, especially if a high viral circulation is present in the human population.[3] Further, ferrets are common laboratory animal models and, at least in experimental conditions, have been shown to be highly susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection and likely to transmit the virus to other ferrets without apparent clinical signs.[4]