Scientists Increase Alarm as Extra Cats Die from Avian Flu

A cat shelter in South Korea has been put below quarantine after two of the felines examined optimistic for H5N1 chook flu within the capital metropolis of Seoul.

The South Korean Ministry of Agriculture, Meals and Rural Affairs mentioned in a press release on Tuesday that this was the primary time that this chook flu had been detected in cats within the nation since 2016, as reported by Reuters.

The positive-testing cats have been two of 38 cats that had lately died on the identical shelter. Staff on the shelter are being monitored, though none are exhibiting signs of the situation.

From left, a inventory picture of a rooster in a cage and a sick cat. Two useless cats at an animal shelter in South Korea have been discovered to have examined optimistic for the H5N1 pressure of chook flu.

H5N1 chook flu, also referred to as avian influenza, is a extremely infectious viral illness that normally spreads between birds, however may soar species to mammals, and infrequently, people. Instances of the H5N1 pressure of the virus have seen a worldwide outbreak since 2021, being detected in birds across the globe.

Avian influenza is available in each “low pathogenic” and “extremely pathogenic” varieties, with low pathogenic strains solely inflicting minor signs in birds, and extremely pathogenic strains posing a better risk.

Almost 59 million poultry birds throughout the nation have been affected by the outbreak, with round 7,000 wild birds testing optimistic for H5N1, based on Facilities for Illness Management (CDC) information.

bird flu
Inventory picture of a rooster and a vial of H5N1 chook flu.

The South Korean deaths come solely days after 34 cats in Poland have been discovered to have been contaminated by the virus, a lot of which confirmed neurological signs like paralysis, with some later dying.

“This virus must be taken significantly,” Wendla Beyer, coverage coordinator for worldwide animal welfare nonprofit 4 Paws, mentioned in a press release on July 17 relating to the Polish cat outbreak. “Following on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic, we noticed the biggest avian influenza outbreak worldwide, with devastating results on animals, commerce and the livelihoods of farmers. Infections in mammals spark fears of viral mutations that might turn into transmissible between people, igniting a brand new pandemic. And now, as we now have seen, home cats are dying from the virus.”

Different circumstances of mammals being contaminated by the virus embody grizzly bears, foxes, skunks and raccoons, and a wide range of home mammals like canines, cats, pigs and horses.

cats in shelter
Inventory picture of cats in a shelter.

Just one individual has examined optimistic for the an infection within the U.S., which occurred in April this yr in somebody immediately concerned with culling poultry contaminated with the virus. The virus has been circulating for a number of a long time, nonetheless, infecting over 700 folks since 2003. Round half of the folks contaminated died from the virus.

There’s a very low danger of people being contaminated by H5N1, each from birds and different people, as a result of low success of the virus spreading between folks, based on the CDC and the World Well being Group (WHO). No circumstances of an individual catching the virus from cats has ever been recorded, with most circumstances stemming from working in shut contact with poultry.

There’s concern that the virus could mutate right into a pressure extra infectious to people, which might be a serious worldwide situation.

“The worldwide H5N1 scenario is worrying given the vast unfold of the virus in birds all over the world and the rising reviews of circumstances in mammals, together with in people,” Sylvie Briand, a WHO official, mentioned on February 24. “WHO takes the chance from this virus significantly and urges heightened vigilance from all international locations.”

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