How many animal species have caught COVID? First global tracker has (partial) answers

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2022-08-06 12:30:03

Those are difficult questions to answer – just as it's hard to come up with an accurate total for human cases, since many people don't report a positive test to health authorities. Yet it's an important task, say researchers, because of the possibility that the virus could mutate into a perhaps more transmissible or virulent strain in animals and then pass back to humans.

Now there's a first effort at compiling a global database of animal counts. Amélie Desvars-Larrive, professor at the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, and her team of Austrian researchers combed the internet for data from official sources. On July 23, her team in collaboration with the Wildlife Conservation society published the first COVID data tracking dashboard for cases in animals in Scientific Data.

The interactive visualization lets users explore which animals have gotten COVID, how many cases were reported for each species and the source of the data. It also covers what happened to the animals, ranging from mild symptoms like a runny nose to more severe symptoms like myocarditis or even sudden death.

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