Avian flu, WHO: first outbreak in cats in Poland

29 cases in two weeks: 14 suppressed, 11 died. No infected human contact

Outbreak of avian influenza A/H5N1 in cats in Polandwhere in 2 weeks about thirty genetically related cases have been recorded. The World Health Organization reports the news, specifying that it is the “first report of a large number of infected cats in a large geographical area within a country”.

On 27 June, WHO received notification from Polish health authorities of “unusual deaths in cats across the country. To July 11th – informs the Geneva agency – 47 samples taken from 46 cats and a caracal in captivity were tested, of which 29 tested positive for influenza A/H5N1″. According to reports, “14 cats have been euthanized and 11 others have died, with the last death reported on June 30.” At the moment “the source of the avian virus exposure is unknown“, but “investigations are ongoing”. A/H5N1 Infection in Cats Previously Reported, but ‘Sporadic’WHO points out, without outbreak characteristics.

As of July 12 – reports the organization – no human contact of A/H5N1 virus positive cats has reported symptoms” of avian influenza “and the surveillance period has ended for all contacts”. The risk of infection for humans is assessed as “low for the general population”, and “low to moderate for cat owners and for those who for professional reasons (such as veterinarians) are exposed to contact with infected cats without the use of adequate protective devices”.