Is soap an effective disinfectant?
Can pets be infected? Is soap an effective disinfectant?
Can pets be infected?

Is soap an effective disinfectant?
Can pets be infected?

    This is part 5 of our coronavirus FAQ. Click here to read the other installments: #Coronavirus the facts. Find the latest information and answers from experts on everything COVID-19.

    Q: Is disinfecting your hands with soap as effective as using an alcohol-based solution?

    Sakamoto Fumie of St. Luke's International Hospital in Tokyo, an infection control specialist, says hand soap is effective as a precautionary measure. Hand soap usually contains surfactants, which are substances that destroy the lipid membrane protecting the coronavirus.

    Sakamoto says alcohol-based solution is helpful but unless it is applied to clean hands, the dirt may prevent the disinfectant from reaching the virus. She urges everyone to regularly wash their hands with soap.

    An NHK experiment found that micro-droplets emitted while sneezing and coughing and during conversations stay in the air for longer than normal droplets, potentially posing a uniquely dangerous risk for coronavirus infection. (01:07)

    Q: Can pets be infected with the coronavirus?

    The Hong Kong government announced that two dogs had tested positive for the virus. Neither had shown any symptoms.

    However, both the Hong Kong government and the World Organization for Animal Health, which monitors infectious diseases in domestic animals, say there is no evidence that pets are viable sources of coronavirus infection.

    The Tokyo Veterinary Medical Association provided NHK with advice on what people should do if they become infected and are no longer able to care for their pets. The organization says the owner should thoroughly shampoo their pets while avoiding splatter because the body surface may be contaminated. They advise owners to then leave their pets in the care of family or friends.

    The data presented here is current as of March 31, 2020.

    Coronavirus updates