U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version



Emerging Infectious Diseases • www.cdc.gov/eid • Vol. 28, No. 9, September 2022



U.S. government work


We assessed 2 wild canid species, red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and coyotes (Canis latrans), for susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2. After experimental inoculation, red foxes became infected and shed infectious virus. Conversely, experimentally challenged coyotes did not become infected; therefore, coyotes are unlikely to be competent hosts for SARS-CoV-2.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, multiple instances of natural infections with SARS-CoV-2 have been reported in pet dogs, likely after exposure to an infected human (1–3). Domestic dogs appear to be minimally susceptible to SARS-CoV-2, as indicated by experimental inoculations resulting in reverse transcription PCR–positive samples and low titer antibody responses but no clinical disease nor shedding of infectious virus (4,5). The ability of SARS-CoV-2 to infect domestic dogs, in addition to several other species of carnivores, suggests that additional members of the canid family might be susceptible to infection. Wild canids, such as red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and coyotes (Canis latrans), are of particular interest given how widely distributed these animals are, their frequent proximity to humans, and that they prey, scavenge upon, or otherwise interact with species demonstrated to be susceptible to SARS-CoV-2, including felids, skunks, rodents, and white-tailed deer (6,7). Foxes (species not specified) have been included in modeling efforts and serosurveillance studies aiming to predict animal hosts of SARS-CoV-2, but their ability to serve as hosts for SARS-CoV-2 remains unclear.