Dozens of cats at an animal shelter in New York have contracted bird flu. According to the New York Daily News, it is a rare strain of the bird flu, identified as H7N2, which has sickened over 45 cats at the Manhattan Animal Care Center.
The bird flu is most commonly seen in chickens…not cats. And now, there is some concern that the virus could infect humans as well. First Deputy Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot told the Daily News, “Although this strain of the avian flu has only resulted in mild to moderate illness in some cats located in one shelter, we have begun to test staff and people in close contact with the cats out of an abundance of caution. We will continue to actively monitor all people involved and adapt our response accordingly.”
Cats who contract the virus may show symptoms such as runny nose, fever and cough – felines who exhibit these symptoms should see a veterinarian, and be kept separate from other animals. According to NBC New York, this particular strain is considered to be relatively mild – though one cat at the shelter did die after contracting the flu.
Did you adopt a cat from the Manhattan animal shelter in the past month? Please call the Health Department at 866-692-3641 for more information about this virus.