Study: A strain of bird flu threatens humans through cats

Written By Mark

A scientific study revealed that the H5N1 strain of bird flu can be transmitted to cats and lead to their death, which poses a danger to humans who own these pets.

Studies indicate that avian influenza has been infecting poultry and wild birds in the United States since 2021, and has also begun to spread among various species of mammals, such as cattle and sheep, amid indications that these viruses can undergo mutations within mammalian cells, which increases the possibility of them being transmitted more easily to… Human.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed, in a statement late last month, that there are still no indications that bird flu can be transmitted from one person to another, and that most of the people who contracted the disease acquired the infection due to contact with poultry or livestock, but possession A cat in the house provides the virus with a back door to transmit the infection to humans, as humans usually pet cats, unlike poultry or cows.

Megyn Davis, a veterinarian and epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of General Medicine, says, “The virus can be transmitted to feral cats when they chase and hunt wild birds, whether they feed on them or not.”

Davis added, in statements to the website “Science News”, which specializes in scientific reports, that “the meals we provide to domestic cats can also cause them to become ill, especially if they contain pieces of raw poultry meat.”

Data from the World Organization for Animal Health indicate that more than 16 cats have been infected with bird flu in the United States since the beginning of this year, including 4 cats that have already died.

In 2022 and 2023, at least 13 cats were infected with the virus, and nearly half of these animals died. The virus also caused the death of at least 22 mountain lions and infected 10 wild cats, causing the death of at least seven of them.