(CNN)The millions of Norway rats that live alongside New Yorkers are among the animals that can catch the virus that causes Covid-19, a new study says. However, reports of the virus spreading from any types of animals to humans remain rare.
Pets like cats, dogs and hamsters; zoo animals such as big cats, primates and hippos; farmed mink; and wildlife such as deer and anteaters are among the animals in which Covid-19 infections have been reported. For the study, published Thursday in the American Academy of Microbiology's journal mBio, the researchers captured 79 rats from three sites in Brooklyn in fall 2021 and tested them for exposure to SARS-CoV-2.
"Most of the rats were trapped in city parks within Brooklyn, although some were captured near buildings outside of park boundaries," study co-author Dr. Tom DeLiberto, SARS-CoV-2 coordinator with the US Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, said in a news release.
Thirteen, or 16.5%, of the 79 rats were found to have IgG or IgM antibodies against the virus, suggesting a previous infection with SARS-CoV-2.