Arizona couple speak out after learning man passed COVID-19 to his pets

Can COVID-19 spread from humans to pets?

The answer, according to TGen, is yes, and the first recorded case is in the Phoenix area.

Max Kraust, a scout for the San Diego Padres, had to give up baseball when he caught COVID-19 in March 2021.

“Super tired and lethargic, and it took me about a month to feel semi-normal again,” Kraust said.

Next, Kraust and his wife, Kyla, noticed that their dog and cat, named Ollie and Pua, were showing similar symptoms around the same time.

“He was more tired than usual, and he got a bit of a runny nose probably two days later, max,” Kyla said.

Kraust later got a call from the health department, asking if he wanted to be part of a study to see if COVID-19 can spread from humans to pets, and that’s when ‘a TGen team intervened.

The team tested Kraust, Ollie, and Pua, and the results show both animals caught COVID-19 and had the exact same strain as Kraust.

“We were able to learn that although it was not a special variant, the strain of the COVID-19 virus was identical in the owner and both pets,” said epidemiologist TGen Hayley Yaglom.

Yaglom says TGen is testing 24 other pets to see if COVID-19 spreads the same way and to better understand how often it happens.

“We don’t have all the genetic evidence in place yet, but we can infer that yes, those other animals that tested positive in our program definitely contracted the virus after being exposed to their owners,” Yaglom said. .

As for Kraust, he’s made a full recovery and he’s back on the baseball field, looking for the next big leagues.

“It’s weird to think that we might, or I guess we were, the first scientifically proven human-animal transmission, but back then we didn’t think much about it,” Kraust said.

TGen has found no evidence of the virus spreading from animals to humans beyond the first probable case from a bat. So far, there is only one known dead animal from COVID-19: a cat in Arizona that had other health issues.

TGen COVID-19 Pet Study

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CDC website for COVID-19 (In Spanish / In Spanish)

AZDHS website for COVID-19 (In Spanish / In Spanish)

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