Tuesday, February 28, 2006

H5N1 kills a cat

H5N1 took time out recently from infecting birds and decided to jump on a new species - cats. The location of the death of the feline is an H5N1 hotspot that is the Baltic island of Ruegen, Germany. Lots of birds have been dying of H5N1 for the last month or so at Ruegen so H5N1 has been enjoying itself. Until recently the German cat was also enjoying itself, no doubt not believeing its luck when food fell practically into the cat's paws. Unfortunately for the cat his last meal was an H5N1 bird, the cat fell ill and then died. The dead cat was found by German officials at Ruegen and tested for H5N1, which was confirmed.

The world media then carried the story of the deceased feline in shock and horror. The shocked media woke the world up that H5N1 had jumped species to cats. The cat-loving community of the world then went into panic. News reporters are a little slow on the uptake sometimes. This news of the deceased German cat is not a big surprise. Cats and dogs have been dying in large numbers anywhere an outbreak of H5N1 happens. Cat and dog deaths just have not been reported in the media often or followed up by experts until now. Since the 2003 outbreak tigers, civit cats and other felines have been recorded as dying of H5N1. Lab experiments have shown that infected cats not only die from H5N1 but they also spread it to each other. Cat infection by H5N1 is not a new thing.

The Ruegen cat is a martyr to bringing to the world attention that H5N1 infects cats as well as birds. The unlucky feline ran out of 9 lives perhaps due to many days of happy feasting at Ruegen. One more victory to H5N1.

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