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H5N1 Bird Flu Detected in Live Cats in Austria
March 6, 2006
Two or three cats, all of which are still alive, have tested positive for the deadly H5N1 strain of the disease, Hans Seitinger, the top agriculture official in Styria state, told ORF.
The above comments on live cats positive for H5N1 are cause for concern. In the past H5N1 in Thailand was linked to fatal infections of domestic and wild cats. These cats were infected with the H5N1 found in Thailand. A similar strain was used to infect laboratory cats, and cat to cat transmission was demonstrated.
However, the H5N1 in Europe is the Qinghai strain, which was detected a dead cat in Germany, indicating the Qinghai version could also cause fatal infections in mammals.
The finding of H5N1 in live cats in Austria however raises the possibility of additional horizontal transmission in cats and other mammals.