Thursday, February 08, 2007

Americans In Indonesia Warned To Stay Away From Cats, Fears Feral Animals Could Pass On H5N1

Stray, or wild, cats are slipping back into the news again in connection with the spread of H5N1, after the US Embassy told American citizens in Indonesia to avoid any contact with stray cats.

The warning on the embassy website claimed there had been "confirmed reports" from within Indonesia that cats can harbour the avian influenza virus :

“There have been confirmed reports that wild and stray cats have been shown to carry H5N1. While there have been no documented cases of feline-to-human transmission of H5N1, it is important to avoid contact with wild and stray cats,” it said.

South Korean slaughtered hundreds, if not thousands, of stray cats late last year, at the same time it culled tens of thousands of poultry birds.

During the H5N1-infected swan incident in the UK last year, reports hit the media that stray cats could not only carry the virus but might be able to pass it onto humans.

On some news media discussion boards in the UK, such as the Daily Mail and the BBC, there was heated comment from cat owners about whether or not they would give up their cats during a cull to prevent the spread of H5N1.

Most stated vehemently that they would not let their cats be culled, even if the animals posed a serious risk of infecting the owners.

Bird Flu Virus Spreading Rapidly Through Cats, Dogs In Indonesia

South Korea Kills Pigs, Dogs Over Bird Flu Fears

New Warnings About Cats Ability To Host H5N1, Spread Virus On To Humans

April 2006 : Dead Cat Found Infected With H5N1 - Cats Could Bring On Worldwide Pandemic

Massive Cull Of Cats, Dogs, Pigs Considered

Cats May Be Gateway For Bird Flu Transmission To Humans

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