An outbreak of avian influenza in Polish cats has taken virologists by surprise

cat in the shadeVittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Image

It is also remarkable that sick cats are found all over the country: from Gdańsk in the north to Poznań in the west and Lublin in the east. “It reminds me of a common food source,” says virologist Thijs Kuiken (Erasmus MC). “Not from a can, but think of contaminated fowl meat eaten either raw or undercooked.”

Many cats are now suffering from this disease dead. A cat infected with avian influenza can develop a fever and loss of appetite, in addition to the notorious neurological symptoms often seen in birds and mammals when infected with H5N1: disorientation, circling, and disorientation. Experts consider the chance of a sick cat contracting the disease to be very small.

About the author
Martin Keulemans, Science Editor De Volkskrant, specializing in microlife, climate, archeology and genetic engineering. He was named Journalist of the Year for his reporting on the Coronavirus.

It’s important to get to the heart of the matter, says Kuiken. “My concern is that as long as we don’t know the source, more infections may emerge. It is important that we find out where this is coming from so we can close this biosecurity gap. I am really waiting for the results from Poland. Koiken rules out the possibility of the bird flu virus spreading among mice and its access to cats. There are no indications that wild mice are susceptible to this virus. Moreover, this does not explain why the two issues diverge.”

suspicious deaths

The outbreak came to light in the middle of last week, when Polish virologists detected the H5N1 virus in nine suspiciously deceased cats. This past weekend, the virus was detected in six more cats. The number of infected animals has now increased to twenty, According to the Polish Institute of Veterinary Medicine in Pulawy.

Cats and cats are more susceptible to bird flu. In 2004 he arrived in Thailand some cheetahs and 147 tigers After an outbreak of the H5N1 virus in a zoo: The animals were fed raw chicken scraps. Twelve years later, the dreaded bird flu virus, H7N2, has hit a New York cat shelter. In total 45 cats and a vet She became infected, unique. “This indicates that this is something to worry about,” says Kuiken.

At the end of last year, the H5N1 virus also appeared to a cat in France. The four-legged friend lived near a duck farm where there was an outbreak of bird flu. The day before Christmas, the cat was put to sleep because the animal was already having violent convulsions. As far as is known, no cats in our country have been infected with bird flu.

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