Scientists Increase Alarm as Extra Cats Die from Avian Flu

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

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

The positive-testing cats had been two of 38 cats that had just 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 hen in a cage and a sick cat. Two lifeless cats at an animal shelter in South Korea have been discovered to have examined constructive for the H5N1 pressure of hen flu.ISTOCK / GETTY IMAGES PLUS

H5N1 hen flu, often known as avian influenza, is a extremely infectious viral illness that often spreads between birds, however can even soar species to mammals, and infrequently, people. Circumstances 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 higher menace.

Practically 59 million poultry birds throughout the nation have been affected by the outbreak, with round 7,000 wild birds testing constructive for H5N1, in response to Facilities for Illness Management (CDC) information.

Inventory picture of a hen and a vial of H5N1 hen flu.ISTOCK / GETTY IMAGES PLUS

The South Korean deaths come solely days after 34 cats in Poland had 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 critically,” Wendla Beyer, coverage coordinator for worldwide animal welfare nonprofit 4 Paws, stated 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 most important avian influenza outbreak worldwide, with devastating results on animals, commerce and the livelihoods of farmers. Infections in mammals spark fears of viral mutations that would grow to be transmissible between people, igniting a brand new pandemic. And now, as we now have seen, home cats are dying from the virus.”

Different instances of mammals being contaminated by the virus embrace grizzly bears, foxes, skunks and raccoons, and quite a lot of home mammals like canine, cats, pigs and horses.

Inventory picture of cats in a shelter.ISTOCK / GETTY IMAGES PLUS

Just one individual has examined constructive for the an infection within the U.S., which occurred in April this 12 months in somebody straight concerned with culling poultry contaminated with the virus. The virus has been circulating for a number of many years, nevertheless, infecting over 700 individuals since 2003. Round half of the individuals contaminated died from the virus.

There’s a very low threat of people being contaminated by H5N1, each from birds and different people, because of the low success of the virus spreading between individuals, in response to the CDC and the World Well being Group (WHO). No instances of an individual catching the virus from cats has ever been recorded, with most instances stemming from working in shut contact with poultry.

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

“The worldwide H5N1 scenario is worrying given the vast unfold of the virus in birds world wide and the growing experiences of instances in mammals, together with in people,” Sylvie Briand, a WHO official, stated on February 24. “WHO takes the chance from this virus critically and urges heightened vigilance from all international locations.”

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