According to the New Scientist, the danger posed by bird flu may not have gone away, as scientists in Indonesia have reported finding high numbers of cats that have been infected with the disease. From the article:
Chairul Anwar Nidom of Airlangga University in Surabaya, Indonesia, told journalists last week that he had taken blood samples from 500 stray cats near poultry markets in four areas of Java, including the capital, Jakarta, and one area in Sumatra, all of which have recently had outbreaks of H5N1 in poultry and people.
Of these cats, 20 per cent carried antibodies to H5N1. This does not mean that they were still carrying the virus, only that they had been infected - probably through eating birds that had H5N1. Many other cats that were infected are likely to have died from the resulting illness, so many more than 20 per cent of the original cat populations may have acquired H5N1.
So as if we did not have enough reasons to avoid the crazy cat ladies of the world, we now have to worry about cats making a nice, intermediary home for the flu virus (where it can really get down to the business of adapting and evolving, making the jump to humans even more likely). And killing all the cats would just give the rats and other pests a free reign (and that's never a good idea). You have been warned.Go Top