Bird Flu Virus Infects Cat in Germany

March 1, 2006

birdThe deadly bird flu virus, H5N1, was found in a German housecat near an area where over 100 infected wild birds were recently discovered. It is believed that the transmission occurred through ingestion of one of the infected birds. While officials caution that it is too early to determine the implications for human transmission, there is increasing concern that the wide range of mammalian species that have been infected may portend future genetic changes that would allow transmission between mammals. The consequences of human to human transmission of the virus could be of pandemic proportions.

In related news, US military physicians issued a call for a surveillance network of rapid-response laboratories in developing countries in order to identify human to human transmission of the virus at the earliest possible point in time to head off further spread. A similar approach was used to protect U.S. service personnel from infectious diseases while serving overseas following World War II.

Link – German Housecat story (Yahoo News)
Link – Flu Network story (BBC)

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