A concerning new study has found that your cat may be hiding a very dangerous secret that could affect your health.
A new report out of New York City indicates that a veterinarian has come down with a strain of bird flu, and scientists have come to the worrying discovery that it may have jumped to him from a cat that was infected with it. Fortunately for the vet, it was a mild illness that has since been resolved, but it is a worrying discovery that suggests a deadly avian flu outbreak can come from a variety of places, even a common house cat.
Bird flu rarely affects cats, but more than 100 cats have tested positive for the virus in New York in the last week, according to reports. Bird flu is easily spread between cats, and it tends to spread in animal shelters in the city, although the felines recover rather quickly.
The greater concern is how the avian flu may find its way to humans, and if deadlier strains of the virus could find some way to spread through the human population. Because the H7N2 virus can spread between cats and humans, it means that there is high potential for an epidemic.
“While we are concerned about this new infection, the cats are experiencing only mild to moderate illness, but a few have developed pneumonia,” says Sandra Newbury, clinical assistant professor at the veterinary school and director of the UW Shelter Medicine Program. “Many of the cats who were initially ill are already recovering. We do want people to be aware of what is happening, but influenza infection is unlikely in cats that have not had contact with cats from New York City’s Manhattan Animal Care Center.”