Saturday, February 10, 2007

Official UN Warnings About Cats Spreading Bird Flu Virus Increase

Considering that only last year the theory of domestic cats being able to carry and pass on avian influenza was regarded as widely held as being something close to Indonesia superstition, this recently reclassified 'fact' is now getting plenty of international media play.

From the Melbourne Age :

Cats should be kept away from areas affected by the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus as they can pick up and spread the disease, the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said on Thursday.

Cats at infected farms should be kept indoors, the agency said, as evidence from Indonesia and other countries showed they could catch bird flu from eating infected poultry or wild birds.

The worst fear is that cats could become a host for the virus where it could mutate into a form that may cause a human pandemic, the FAO said.

"Cats could act as intermediary hosts in the spread of the H5N1 virus between species," said FAO's Assistant Director-General Alexander Mueller.

"(Virus) growth in cats might help the H5N1 virus to adapt into a more highly infectious strain that could spark an influenza pandemic."

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