Q&A: Coronavirus–Are there any risks from interacting with animals?

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Q: Are there any risks from interacting with animals or consuming animal products?

A: There is no evidence of any animal including pets playing a role in the spread of the virus. As a general practice when caring for any kind of animals, always wash your hands before and after interacting with them.


Meat from healthy livestock that is cooked thoroughly remains safe to eat. Fish and aquatic products normally domestically traded and in conformity with national and international food safety requirements attesting a safe and hygienic production are also safe to eat.

People should not handle, slaughter, dress, sell, prepare or consume any animal protein that originates from wild animals or livestock that are sick or that have died from unknown causes. Raw wild meat or uncooked dishes based on the blood of wild animals should not be consumed. These practices place people at high risk of contracting any number of infections.

Any unusual morbidity or mortality of animals should be reported to the animal health authorities.

FAO urges animal owners to treat their animals humanely. Misleading information exists on the possible risks posed by animals in the virus’s spread.

(Sources: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations / www.fao.org)