How could my lovable Lola, the cutest Jack Russel breed dog, have a deadly coronavirus that could be directly transmitted to myself? This is what the WHO scientists are trying to determine while in its early stages. Maybe, the coronavirus has already been transmitted with no traceable effects to myself since I've owned the dog since it was a puppy (Lola is now 11 yrs. old).
The new canine coronavirus has been around undiscovered since 2017, that is when a group of health workers had returned from Haiti. It was not just one, but 20 workers who had worked at the same health clinic and all suffered similar Covid-19 type symptoms upon landing in Florida. One of the most common symptom was the fever. Upon landing, they all underwent urine tests. At the time, the investigating doctor scientists thought it was most likely the Zika virus from the mosquito.
All the urine tests came back negative for Zika. While relieved, one doctor was still not satisfied and took additional urine samples from six more workers. It was more of a hunch to see if something had been missed. This time, the doctor injected the the samples into a petri dish containing monkey cells (the closet relative to humans) to see if any sort of infection would occur.
Imagine the shock when the result of this simple standard procedure yielded a new coronavirus that had infected directly monkey cells. It was no ordinary coronavirus, either, but the 8th coronavirus that causes disease in humans!
Some 11,000 miles from Florida, within the same general time frame, in Malaysia, doctors at a hospital were perplexed with many kids entering with some sort of upper respiratory symptoms. Of the 300+ cases, some 3% of them had some sort of breathing problems.
As tests were done, it was found to have come from dogs and directly infecting humans. The method of transmission remained a mysterious. There was no real evidence that it could become a pandemic and seems to be just isolated events, When the genetic code of the Malaysian virus samples were compared with those in Haiti, they were a 95% match!
How it spreads among humans is still a mystery. The canine virus does cause numerous pneumonia among those who get it. Dog owners may already have it but have developed an immunity.
Like Covid-19, which probably was spreading months or years before scientists were able to identify it, the discovery of this new coronavirus, which can cause disease in humans (only 8 have been identified so far), probably has been spreading among the populations unidentified and misdiagnosed by doctors unfamiliar with coronaviruses.
However, its discovery has put it on the WHO's radar list of other potential coronaviruses than can cause disease in humans before it causes another pandemic.