COVID-19 pandemic is essentially a zoonotic disease. In this context, early in 2020, transmission from humans to certain animals began reporting; the number of studies has grown since. To estimate the pooled prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 natural infection in animals and to determine differences in prevalence between countries, years, animal types and diagnostic methods (RT-PCR or serological tests). A systematic literature review with meta-analysis using eight databases. Observational studies were included but analyzed separately. We performed a random-effects model meta-analysis to calculate the pooled prevalence and 95% confidence interval (95% CI) for prevalence studies and case series. After the screening, 65 reports were selected for full-text assessment and included for qualitative and quantitative analyses. A total of 24 reports assessed SARS-CoV-2 infection by RT-PCR, combining a total of 321,785 animals, yielding a pooled prevalence of 12.3% (95% CI 11.6%–13.0%). Also, a total of 17 studies additionally assessed serological response against SARS-CoV-2, including nine by ELISA, four by PRTN, one by MIA, one by immunochromatography (rest, two studies, the method was not specified), combining a total of 5319 animals, yielding a pooled prevalence of 29.4% (95% CI 22.9%–35.9%). A considerable proportion of animals resulted infected by SARS-CoV-2, ranking minks among the highest value, followed by dogs and cats. Further studies in other animals are required to define the extent and importance of natural infection due to SARS-CoV-2. These findings have multiple implications for public human and animal health. One Health approach in this context is critical for prevention and control.
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© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.