Can fish get Covid?

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Viruses are meticulous about which species they infect. However, sometimes they do jump from animals to humans. In addition, in rare cases, the virus mutates to a form that can transmit between people. Reports have shown that coronavirus may also be found in imported fish such as salmon. One such report surfaced about a year ago from Xinfadi, Beijing’s largest food market, which was shut down due to coronavirus residues found on a fish chopping board. This incident sparked questions on whether fish can spread the virus as well. Pneumonia is caused by a type of coronavirus as well and it infects the lungs. But the mystery begins when we take into consideration the fact that fish have gills and not lungs.
If we consider the different arguments with proof, there have been no studies at present to prove that a water-borne virus may be infectious, leaving out the possibility that one can get the virus directly from fish.

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Viruses are also temperature sensitive. Therefore their targeted species are also specific, usually, those that live within a specific temperature range. The novel coronavirus mostly attacks mammals, including humans, that are endothermic or warm-blooded. The virus has a high chance of survival inside the human body. This is due to the body temperature of humans, which is around 36 degrees celsius. Nevertheless, most freshwater fish cannot survive at this temperature, showing they cannot catch or even transmit the virus. Freshwater fish must be cooked at high temperatures to ensure the virus completely breaks down and the fish is then safe to eat. This is because the virus breaks down at temperatures of 56 degrees Celsius and above when heated for a minimum of 30 minutes. As always, it is important to maintain good hygiene and keep kitchenware sanitized.

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Fish also have a body temperature that is completely different from what a coronavirus would find favorable. This gives fish a much higher chance of survival and makes them safer as well.
Another point is that fish live in a completely different environment and have a body temperature that coronaviruses are not adapted to. With this being said, another point that needs to be noted is that all viruses need the cells to have specific receptors on their exterior. Viruses can only attach themselves to these specific receptors with which they are compatible. One can imagine this compatibility to be similar to a lock and a key. Many mammals share the same “lock” that coronaviruses can open. That is why they have been able to cross species boundaries, both the original SARS virus and the new coronavirus, which is called SARS CoV-2. Fish cells have different locks, so they really cannot transmit Covid. Therefore, in conclusion, to this, fishes do not spread the Coronavirus; just follow proper hygiene to keep food clean in general.

can fish get Covid
can fish get Covid

What are some of the animals that are susceptible to Covid-19?

Nearly 20 months into the pandemic, which is part of life routine in recent months, and the whole experience has been a milestone. When the pandemic was in its early stages, pigs were suspected to be responsible for the virus. They are known to incubate other viruses, such as influenza, they live in huge numbers in close proximity to humans, and some 300 million pigs are farmed in China, where the pandemic began. Pigs can also host coronaviruses. In 2018, about 25,000 pigs were killed in southern China. The culprit was described by scientists to be a new bat coronavirus. In February 2020, Scientists also discovered that pig cells were permeable to SARS-COV-2. The virus entered the cells through the ACE2 receptor proteins. These proteins were the same ones found to be responsible for infections in people. Later on, more studies were carried out to test this hypothesis. Researchers artificially inserted pigs and piglets with the SAR-COV-2 virus, it did not show signs of replication, suggesting that pigs might be immune to the virus.  

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With pigs off the priority list, bats became the center of attention. Many now believed that bats were the real culprits behind the spread, and research showed concern that the virus might spread to other bat populations. In April, the US Fish and Wildlife Service advised scientists to suspend all research that involved capturing and handling bats. However, similar to pigs, studies with bats showed reassuring results. A study of ACE2 receptors in the cells of 46 bat species found that the majority were poor hosts. Because bats and humans are not often in close contact, it is highly unlikely that people will spread the virus to colonies that have not been exposed.

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On October 6, a binturong and a fishing cat tested positive at Chicago Zoo, followed a week later by a coati. On December 5th, Two hippos at a zoo in Belgium fell victim to the coronavirus. These animals were the first to contract the virus in their respective species. They are now part of a group of 315 animals from 15 species in the United States confirmed to have SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The group extends to cats, dogs, lions, snow leopards, tigers, otters, a cougar, a ferret, gorillas, as well as white-tailed deer. The affected animals have been mainly carnivores.

The hyenas, the binturong, the coati, and the fishing cat are all carnivores, as are domestic and big cats, which have been testing positive since early in the pandemic. This does not necessarily mean carnivores are more susceptible. It is a different story with big cats, however. Take mice, for example, while the SARS-COV-2 virus did not affect them, the beta variant can still harm them. As variants emerge in humans, the virus could be expanding its host range, mutating to infect more species and potentially circulating silently among them, creating a new reservoir. However, the opposite is also true. It is possible the new variants might be harmless to certain species. As the virus becomes more effective in transmitting between humans, it may become less effective in moving between animals. 

As of now, there is no evidence that except for mink, any species, including pets, can transmit the virus to humans, or that variants have emerged after mutating in another species. Snow leopards and minks have been the most affected ones. Three snow leopards have also died at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo, in Nebraska. The cause of death was said to be complications due to COVID. It is unclear if they had underlying conditions. The same has happened to Mink as well. Around the world, several minks have either died or been euthanized, including places like the US, the Netherlands, and Belgium. Buddy, the first dog to be confirmed positive for COVID-19 in the U.S., died in July, but he likely had lymphoma, which experts say may have played a role. The US has seen more than 315 recorded animal infection cases. If animals do not show symptoms, it is unlikely they will be tested, and that makes it difficult to learn about potential silent spreaders, animals that may contract the virus and spread it without ever exhibiting symptoms. 

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A large number of white-tailed deer were also closely studied by scientists. The study found that of the 600 deer studied in four US states, nearly 40% had antibodies for SARS-COV-2. The reports of COVID-19 in deer were also reported in three deer in Quebec, Canada. However, the animals did not show signs of sickness, and no evidence suggests that deer can transfer the virus to humans. On the other hand, there is a possibility the virus might mutate and become harder to detect. Through mutation, it can also infect larger animal populations, making it harder to eradicate and control. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) is a US non-profit that sets standards for animal care and safety. Members of the AZA have also shown growing concern over the spread of COVID-19 in animals at different zoos. These animals include tigers and lions at Bronx Zoo, gorillas at San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and snow leopards at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo. Due to AZA’s strictness in disease diagnosis in animals, there is an increased chance for COVID detection in animals. To minimize the risk of infection, caretakers wear specialized equipment and minimize physical contact. 

Many roadside zoos offer hands-on contact with animals, especially lion and tiger cubs, species that are known to be susceptible to the virus. These zoos must be licensed by the USDA to exhibit animals but are not accredited by the AZA, which does not allow contact between big cats and the public. The care standards set by the USDA fall well below those of the AZA, and roadside zoos are notorious for lax veterinary care and safety protocols. It is unclear, whether any big cats at roadside zoos or cub-petting facilities, have been tested for the virus or have died from it. 

Although COVID-19 is primarily a human disease, the growing number of species known to be susceptible to the virus should be a call to action. We do not know much about the virus at this point, but everyone has to be a little cautious and learn more about the effects of COVID on pets. In theory, the virus could evolve as it circulates among animals, but possibly in ways that threaten the efficacy of vaccines or make the pathogen more deadly and infectious. 

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Can the coronavirus disease be transmitted through water?

Water is a big part of your life. You drink it, you wash your hands with it, you bathe in it and a lot of us swim in it. In fact, more than half of your body weight is water. And, as you turn on the tap to fill up another glass of water, you may be wondering if the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19 can live in it, too. Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) state that there is currently no evidence the new coronavirus is spread through the public water supply.

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However, the new coronavirus has been found in untreated wastewater. Although it is unclear, exactly how long the virus can survive in it. It is also important to know that all wastewater is heavily treated to kill germs, including viruses, and the CDC reports that there are no known cases of COVID-19 resulting from exposure to untreated wastewater. Since most people aren’t likely to come into contact with sewage water anyway, here’s what you need to know about COVID-19 and the water you do come into contact with, like the water in your home, pool, or hot tub, as well as oceans, lakes, and rivers.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CDC has reassured us that the required public water treatment methods, which include filtration and chlorination, should be sufficient to remove or kill the new coronavirus. In addition, the EPA reports that the new coronavirus has not been detected in public drinking water and that, based on current evidence, the risk of getting COVID-19 from our public water supply is low. This means that the tap water you have access to in your home is safe to consume and use for your personal hygiene. 

The CDC states that it is unlikely that the new coronavirus can survive in a pool that is properly maintained, which includes regularly checking and adjusting the pool’s chlorine levels and ph. In addition, the CDC also reports that there is currently no evidence that COVID-19 is spread through water in a pool or hot tub. But, while pool water that is properly maintained is likely safe, you will need to make sure your pool time stays safe as well.

Oceans, lakes, and rivers aren’t treated to kill germs like public water supplies are, but the movement and size of these natural bodies of water may make up for that. The larger the body of water, the better the chance that any coronavirus contamination that may occur will quickly become diluted to a level where infection becomes unlikely. In addition, waves and running water may help disperse and dilute any viral contamination, as well. When it comes to limiting the spread of COVID-19, the larger concern at a beach, lake or river is the increased likelihood of person-to-person spread as crowds form. 

Given this, we can conclude that Covid does not spread through water, the only thing that matters is hygiene. If you follow the right hygiene regimen then there is no reason to worry about catching Covid through water.

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Can the virus spread through food items?

The new coronavirus, which is called SARS-CoV-2, is mainly transmitted through respiratory droplets. If one who has the virus talks, coughs, or sneezes, and you end up inhaling these droplets, you can develop COVID-19. Respiratory droplets that contain the virus can also land on various surfaces. Although it is less common, the new coronavirus can also be transmitted through contact with a contaminated surface and then touching your nose, mouth, or eyes. Because of this, there has been some concern about contracting the virus through food or food packaging. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the risk of this happening is quite low.

Coronaviruses need living host cells to thrive. Unlike bacteria or fungi, they cannot multiply in or on food. It is still possible for the coronavirus to be present on food. Indeed, some research that is currently in pre-print has found that the virus can survive on refrigerated or frozen meats for weeks. However, the CDC notes that there is currently no evidence to support that the spread of COVID-19 is associated with food. Additionally, taking appropriate food safety measures can help ensure that you do not get sick from food. Proper food safety not only reduces the risk of contracting the virus, but also prevents exposure to germs that can cause foodborne illnesses, such as salmonella, E. coli, and listeria.

Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water both before and after handling food. It is particularly important to wash your hands after handling raw food items like meat, poultry, and seafood. Many foods have a safe minimum cooking temperature. This is the internal temperature that food needs to be cooked at in order to kill potentially harmful germs like bacteria. The safe minimum cooking temperature can vary by food type. Some examples of a safe minimum cooking temperature include:

  • Poultry: 165°F
  • Ground beef, pork, lamb, veal: 160°F
  • Fresh beef, pork, lamb, veal: 145°F
  • Fish: 145°F or until flesh is opaque and flakes easily with a fork

Be sure to know the minimum cooking temperature for your food before cooking it. You can measure a food’s internal temperature by using a food thermometer. Because germs can be found on the surface of fresh produce, it is important to rinse these items thoroughly before eating them. To do this, gently rub the surface of produce while it is under cold running water. For firm produce like potatoes or apples, you can use a clean brush with no soap to help you gently scrub the surface.

Overall, the new coronavirus does not survive well outside of the human body. Because of this, wiping down your groceries is not typically necessary. Follow these tips to stay as safe as possible while handling food. Wash your hands thoroughly after getting back from the grocery store, after putting away your groceries, or after removing food from its packaging. Avoid using bleach, ammonia, or other disinfectants to clean food packaging. Discard any unneeded food packaging or shopping bags promptly into the appropriate recycling or waste bin. Wash soiled cloth shopping bags with your normal laundry.

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In the world today, everyone is worried about coronavirus. This is understandable because of the chaos that SARS-CoV has brought about in the world. For a layman understanding if they can contract covid from simple things like fish, pets, animals, water, and food is common. Many questions arise when a proper understanding of Covid is being developed. 

The risk of getting the new coronavirus from surfaces including food or food packaging is very low. While the virus can be present on these items, taking preventive steps can greatly help reduce your risk of exposure. These preventative steps include washing your hands after handling food or food packaging and cooking foods to the appropriate temperature. When ordering from a restaurant, focus on locations that are taking preventative steps, such as using contactless services. While tap water is safe to drink, it is best to use caution with other water sources, like wastewater and river water, as the virus has been detected in these water sources. Based on the available information to date, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be quite low. At this time, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in humans. More studies are needed to understand if and how different animals could be affected by SARS-CoV-2. Some coronaviruses that infect animals can be spread to people and then spread between people, but this is rare. This is what happened with SARS-CoV-2, which likely originated in bats. 

Preventing Covid revolves around just a few basic steps that are simply to wash your hands often with soap and water. This includes before and after eating and after going to the toilet. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers when you cannot use soap and water. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Clean and disinfect surfaces you use often such as benchtops, desks, and doorknobs. Clean and disinfect objects you use often such as mobile phones, keys, wallets, and work passes. Increase the amount of fresh air by opening windows or changing air conditioning. Make sure your mask covers your nose, mouth, and chin. Clean your hands before you put your mask on, before and after you take it off, and after you touch it at any time. When you take off your mask, store it in a clean plastic bag, and every day either wash it if it is a fabric mask or dispose of it in a trash bin if it is a medical mask. Do not use masks with valves. Simple hygiene steps are all you need, keeping yourself and your surroundings clean is the major important thing that one needs to keep a lookout for. Just simple prevention steps for the spread can help put an end to this coronavirus.

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Hazel Buckley
Hazel Buckley

About Hazel Buckley
Hazel is an animal enthusiast and educator who grew up on a farm which her parents owned in Ingogo, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.  The farm was situated right under the Majuba Mountains - the site where the Anglo-Boer War was fought. 

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the information published on this website is accurate, the author and owners of this website take no responsibility  for any loss or damage suffered as a result of relience upon the information contained therein.  Furthermore the bulk of the information is derived from information in 2018 and use therefore is at your on risk. In addition you should consult professional advice if required.