There are several theories about where novel coronavirus (COVID-19) originated and how it spread to humans. West Virginia University Extension Service veterinarian Darin Matlick weighs in on one of those theories – whether or not humans can contract coronavirus from their cattle.
“Can you get coronavirus from your cattle? The short answer is no – to date, it’s not been shown that cows can transmit any type of coronavirus to humans. Cattle can, however, contract a strain of coronavirus that cause gastrointestinal issues, such as diarrhea, in baby calves early in life. Recent research also suggests coronavirus is involved in Bovine Respiratory Disease Complex.”
“Concerns around coronavirus and cattle have likely come up because the origin of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China, is unknown. COVID-19 is believed to have been transferred from bats to an armadillo-like species to humans in the Wuhan open-air food markets. But, coronavirus is an RNA virus with many different strains, and COVID-19 is different than the coronavirus we see in cattle. The bovine strain of coronavirus is part of group 2a, while the human respiratory virus is part of subgroup 2b.”
“Many cattle producers will recognize the coronavirus name from the scours vaccines commonly given to cows in the last trimester to protect in baby calves. Regardless, cattle producers should always wash their hands after working with cattle and continue to practice proper biosecurity on their farms.” – Darin Matlick, veterinarian, WVU Extension Service
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