Cats died from chook flu ‘after consuming uncooked milk from contaminated cows’ | EUROtoday

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Scientists are speeding to know the devastating affect H5N1 is having on the brains and lungs of US farmyard cats.

Bird flu has now affected 39 herds of dairy cattle throughout 9 US states. Whilst it causes a gentle an infection in most cows, the consequences in cats are extreme.

Out of 24 cats identified to have contracted H5N1 on a single Texas dairy farm final month, twelve of them died. Postmortem examinations revealed indicators of “severe systemic infection” within the lifeless animals’ our bodies – together with lesions on their hearts, brains, eyes, and lungs.

The cats are thought to have turn into contaminated after consuming the sick cows’ uncooked milk. Those that didn’t die skilled blindness, neurological issues, bloody diarrhoea, and issue respiration, in accordance with a research printed by the US Centers for Disease Control.

The US Department of Agriculture mentioned it had acquired quite a few reviews of loss of life and neurological illness in cats on different affected dairy farms, however hasn’t launched figures on how lots of the animals have been affected.

The division did nonetheless replace its steering for veterinarians earlier this week, instructing them to check cats on affected farms that present any indicators of sickness.

“They should be proactive in testing symptomatic and asymptomatic cats. This will help us understand how widespread this is and if other cats are affected,” mentioned Dr Krutika Kuppalli, a spokesperson for the Infectious Disease Society of America and former WHO medical officer.

‘Keep cats indoors’

This isn’t the primary time cats have contracted H5N1. Last 12 months in Poland, eleven home cats died from the virus. The supply of transmission was unknown, however was assumed to be from being fed components of contaminated poultry, and there was no proof to counsel the an infection was spreading cat-to-cat.

In 2021, when H5N1 started to flow into, Defra issued recommendation for homeowners of home cats in Britain – of which there are 10 million. “As a precautionary approach we recommend that if you live within three kilometres of a premises where avian influenza is confirmed, pet owners should aim to keep their cats indoors,” the company mentioned in its official messaging.

But the most recent US replace is important for a number of causes, in accordance with consultants.

It marks the primary time cats have contracted H5N1 from one other mammal, versus wild or stored birds, elevating new issues concerning the virus’s potential to evolve and unfold.

The extra hosts it infects, the extra probability that the virus will finally ‘jump’ to people, say consultants.

Second, the actual fact the cats have been contaminated by way of milk has raised concern over the flexibility of the virus to unfold through the meals chain.

Scientists are warning individuals to not eat unpasteurised milk merchandise – or to feed them to home pets.