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Flu Bird flu in German cats

Discussion in 'Survival Medicine' started by melbo, Feb 28, 2006.

  1. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member


    Bird flu in German cat
    BERLIN, Feb.28 (NewScientist): UPDATED - A dead cat on the German Baltic island of Rugen has been found carrying the H5N1 bird flu virus. The finding confirms the results of a Dutch study in 2005 showing cats can catch the virus, and suggests they may need to be included in efforts to control the spread of the virus in animals. No other flu virus has ever been observed to affect cats, but the "Z genotype" H5N1 that has been killing people in east Asia can kill cats of several species. Thijs Kuiken and colleagues at Erasmus University in the Netherlands found cats could catch it by eating infected dead birds, and then pass it other cats. In October 2004, 147 out of 441 tigers at a tiger zoo near Bangkok in Thailand died of H5N1 they caught from eating infected chicken carcasses left by the massive poultry outbreak of H5N1 then afflicting Thailand. The disease also killed a zoo leopard. The first H5N1 in northern Europe was confirmed in Rugen in February 2006, in dead swans. But it has also been found in several other bird species on the island, and could infect some species preyed on by domestic cats. In East Asia dead birds of the crow, finch and thrush family have been found with H5N1. "The Netherlands has considered that if there is a poultry outbreak, we would definitely have to include the farmer's cat and any feral cats in control measures," says Albert Osterhaus at Erasmus, a leading flu expert. "This would probably mean quarantine." Nothing so far suggests that cats, which die quickly from H5N1, can become carriers of the virus and they are therefore unlikely to pose a risk to people, he told New Scientist. "It is definitely an acute infection in our experiments. And they don't shed a lot of virus in their faeces." Read this article in full at NewScientist
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