- Hello Jeff -
- I find it extremely important for people
to understand WHY cats became infected with bird flu: The cats were "outside"
cats that ate and had close contact with sick birds.
- Cats that remain indoors and have NO
access to the outside will NOT become infected. People should NOT panic
and release cats to the outdoors. As more cats are released into the wild
by scared people the numbers of bird flu infected cats will increase.
- People who are cat owners need to understand
this point. If people are contemplating release of cats or dogs to the
wild they are making a giant mistake and helping to ensure a continued
cycle of bird to cat infections.
- Governments need to make this known.
- Patricia Doyle
- Release Of Domestic Cats In
H5N1 Infected Areas
- From Julie Levy
- Regarding the (ProMed) moderator's comment
that "release of owned cats should be banned:"
- Virtually all jurisdictions in the US
already have laws against the abandonment of pet cats and dogs. However,
animal control infractions rarely reach the level of civic priority to
rate enforcement efforts. Similarly, licensing and identification requirements
for cats and dogs are widespread, but usually have very low compliance.
- A majority of US owned cats are allowed
to roam outside, and it is unlikely that stricter laws will change this
very much. In addition, there may be an equal number of un-owned feral
cats residing in the US. Volunteer groups are attempting to reduce feral
cat populations through sterilization campaigns, but the resources available
for these programs are scant compared to the resources devoted to traditional
animal control programs, which have failed to reduce feral cat populations
in the past. Increased support for effective feral cat control programs
that are acceptable to the public would be expected to reduce public health
concerns and environmental damage and to improve cat welfare.
- We have shown that feral cats are at
increased risk for West Nile Virus exposure compared to pet cats, and as
such, feral cats may represent an ideal sentinel species for other zoonotic
diseases endemic to wildlife. Large-scale feral cat sterilization programs
are in place throughout the country and may be well placed to provide samples
on a continuous basis for serosurveys of H5N1 activity.
- Recent ProMED reports suggest that cats
are only one of a variety of species that are likely to be added to the
list in the near future of species susceptible to H5N1 infection. Their
role in the transmission of H5N1 remains to be determined [see commentary].
- ProMED-mail email@example.com
- For background, see:
- 1. " Hong Kong, precaution re.
cats" in: Avian influenza - worldwide (49): Asia, Europe 20060311.0771;
- 2. Avian influenza, cats: H5N1 systemic
- 3. Rimmelzwaan GF et al. (2006). Influenza
A virus (H5N1) infection in cats causes systemic disease with potential
novel routes of virus spread within and between hosts. Am J Pathol 168:
- The updated list of animal species (mammalian
and avian) known to be susceptible to infection by the HPAI H5N1 virus
is accessible at http://www.nwhc.usgs.gov/disease_information/avian_influenza/
affected_species_chart.jsp (Note that the list must be scrolled through).
- The 9 mammals reported in the list are:
Palm Civet, domestic cat/feral cat, Cynomolgus macaque, ferret, New Zealand
white rabbit, leopard, tiger, rat and pig. - Mod.AS