The bird flu is taking out domestic cats in Poland now. The H5N1 strain has killed at least nine pet cats as scientists continue to investigate an unusual cluster of illnesses affecting dozens of cats across the country.
The General Veterinary Inspectorate said in a statement that, out of 11 samples tested, nine have come back positive for H5N1 bird flu. The cats lived in Poznań, Lublin, and the Tri-City area, all in different parts of the country, according to a report by BNONews.
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But the mainstream media still says there is no reason to panic. According to the Washington Examiner, despite the fact that H5N1 now shows an ability to infect mammals, with cases found in foxes, seals, dolphins, otters, and wild dogs, the number of human cases remains extremely small. In part, that’s because several mutations would have to occur before bird flu could spread from human to human.
“Further detailed testing of the genetic material of the viruses is underway,” the Polish agency said of the infected cats. “Preliminary tests rule out the influenza virus which has caused illness in seagulls in recent weeks.”
“Work is underway to establish a protocol for monitoring the disease in cats to collect more detailed data on its course and occurrence,” the agency said. “The source of infection has not yet been identified.”
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To limit the risk of infection, Poland’s chief veterinary officer has advised owners to keep cats indoors, to prevent contact with wild animals, including birds, and to only feed them with food from known sources. At least 70 suspected cases are being investigated across Poland, according to figures released last week. In Gdańsk, which is part of the Tri-City region, officials reported at least 28 cases of unusual illnesses, including 25 deaths.
In December, a cat living near a duck farm in southern France was euthanized after becoming severely ill with H5N1 bird flu. This marked the first time that a cat was infected with the new strain of H5N1, which emerged in late 2021 and has spread around the world. Since then, at least 6 cats in the U.S. have also died of H5N1. –BNONews
Globally, since 2003, 873 human infections with A(H5N1) viruses, including 458 deaths, have been reported to the World Health Organization (WHO). In Moscow, 11 out of 125 regions are being quarantined because of outbreaks among birds, not humans.
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