Is There a Link Between Cats and Avian Bird Flu?

The bird flu has been getting front page coverage now for over two years and it would appear that as time passes there are developing more concerns. Recently 26 people in Asia were killed by this mysteriously mutating virus and there have been vast slaughters of poultry in several countries. Now, as if things could not get worse, there is concern that the bird flu can affect cats.

A new study has found that the flu is infecting cats. The study also suggests that cats can spread the flu to other cats. This is disturbing news and raises the possibility the flu may be able to spread to other mammals, including humans. This news has scientist more than concerned.

Before now, it was believed that domestic cats were resistant to flu viruses. Now however there is research that suggests that domestic cats are at risk of disease and may develop into a conduit for the transmission of the illness. There has been, to date, a report of four domestic cats dying from what appears to be the bird flu.

Scientists are currently conducting experiments to determine whether or not cats can be carriers or even catch the illness. So far the experiments are yielding surprising and disturbing results. The cats tested soon showed signs of disease and one cat died after six days of infection after being exposed.

Scientists are concerned that if the cats can get the flu and pass it on that the virus may mutate enough for the same thing to take place in humans.

Avian Flu is passed through saliva, nasal secretions, and feces of the bird that have contracted it. Domesticated birds could be infected through contact with infected waterfowl or other infected poultry. The Bird Flu is also passed through things as simple as the dirt is cages where infected birds have been.

According to studies, there are two main forms of disease that Bird Flu causes. The “low pathogenic” form may go undetected and usually causes only mild symptoms like ruffled feathers and a drop in egg production. The highly pathogenic form spreads more rapidly through flocks of poultry. The second form of Bird Flu affects multiple internal organs and causes death at a rate of 90-100 percent. Death can occur with the second form of the virus within 48 hours.

Experts do not want people to panic about the possibilities of cats being able to get infected with the bird flu and then pass it on, however they are concerned and suggests that every one pay attention to the latest reports.

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