First Case Of Bird Flu From Infected Cat To Human In New York Reported

First Posted: Dec 29, 2016 04:00 AM EST

The NYC Department of Health reported the first ever case of a person who was infected with bird flu from a shelter cat in New York City. The virus is the H7N2, a strain of influenza A virus that could be contracted through exposure from an infected cat.

Dr. Mary Bassett, the City Health Commissioner, stated that their investigation confirms that the risk to human health from H7N2 is low, but they are urging New Yorkers who have adopted cats from a shelter or rescue group within the past three weeks to be alert for symptoms in their pets. She further stated that they are contacting people who may have been exposed and offering to test as appropriate.

CBS reports that the H7N2 or also referred to as avian or bird flu spread among more than 100 cats that lived at Animal Care Centers of NYC shelters. The employees and the volunteers were tested. On the other hand, only the veterinarian, who worked with sick cats, was the one infected. It is reported that the veterinarian had only mild symptoms in a short period and has fully recovered.

This is not only the case of H7N2 spread from cat to human but also the first time it jumps from bird to cat. The NYC Health Department reported that there have been no documented cases of human-to-human transmission.

The officials also said there is no need for anyone to panic and abandon their pets. The risk of their cat being infected by H7N2 is extremely low, particularly outside New York City. On the other hand, they advise to watch out for signs of the virus such as coughing, sneezing, loss of appetite, fever and discharge from the nose or eyes. Currently, the health officials are having their investigation to guarantee that no human cases have gone undetected, according to Science Alert.

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