On January 23,  The Sun reported about how the coronavirus spread could’ve initiated with humans who’ve eaten bat soup in China.

Scientists in China claim that the deadly strain shares a common ancestor with a virus found only in fruit bats.

According to Line Today – The coronavirus discovered in Wuhan may share the same bat-related ancestor as Sars, according to the latest study by Chinese scientists, which said the strain was weaker than the devastating 2002-03 Sars outbreak but was still “highly infectious”.

The new virus shares a common ancestor with severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars), in HKU9-1, a virus found in fruit bats, they found.

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The connection with wild animals was confirmed by Gao Fu, director-general of China’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

USA Today – Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe infections such as pneumonia; Middle East respiratory syndrome, known as MERS; and severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS. Common signs of infection include fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, the infection can cause kidney failure or death.

The virus can spread from animals to people. It can be spread by coughing, sneezing and through close contact with an infected person or an object carrying the virus.

Coronaviruses, Ebola and SARS are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. Ebola was carried by fruit bats, which spread it to other animals. SARS was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS from camels to humans.

Should owners of domestic animals be concerned about the deadly virus spreading to their pets?

According to the Daily Mail, a dog that is owned by a 60-year-old woman who’s been infected with the coronavirus has tested positive for the rapidly spreading disease in Hong Kong.

Local media said the owner of the dog is a businesswoman named Yvonne Chow Hau Yee. The photo below appeared on her Facebook page. It has not been verified that the Pomeranian pup she is holding in the photo is the same dog reportedly infected with the coronavirus.

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‘Nasal and oral cavity samples were tested weak positive to COVID-19 virus [sic],’ an Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said, without explaining why they tested the animal in the first place.

According to Business Insider: The dog was quarantined in an animal center after getting a “weak positive” result in a test for the COVID-19 virus.

The dog has not shown any symptoms of COVID-19, however, a spokesman for Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said on Friday.

The spokesman said the dog belonged to a patient infected with the virus.

A low level of the virus was found in the dog’s nasal and oral cavities, and officials now plan to run more tests to see whether the dog is actually sick or whether the test results were skewed by “environmental contamination of the dog’s mouth and nose.”

Local media said the owner of the dog is a businesswoman named Yvonne Chow Hau Yee. AFP separately reported the dog’s owner is 60 years old

The pooch is the only dog at the quarantine facility, which is based in near Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, according to Dimsumdaily.

Repeated tests will be conducted for the dog and it will only be returned when the test result is negative.

The spokesman said that to ensure public and animal health, the department strongly advises mammalian pets of patients confirmed to have been infected with COVID-19 virus to be put under quarantine by the AFCD. The pets will be delivered to the designated animal keeping facilities of the AFCD for quarantine and veterinary surveillance for 14 days. Samples will be collected for testing of COVID-19 virus as appropriate.

The dog will be kept at the center for 14 days. Repeated tests will be done until the dog is cleared of the virus.

‘It would be closely monitored and undergo further tests to confirm if it really has the virus or if ‘this is a result of environmental contamination of the dog’s mouth and nose,’ the AFCD said.

In a statement, the agency said: ‘The AFCD does not have evidence that pet animals can be infected with COVID-19 virus or can be a source of infection to people.’

While there is no evidence domestic animals such as dogs and cats can catch the virus or transmit it to humans, the department said pets of infected people should be quarantined for 14 days.

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