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Avian Influenza in Cats

Marschall, J. and K. Hartmann (2008). Avian influenza A H5N1 infections in cats. Journal of Feline Medicine & Surgery 10(4): 359-365.

While influenza types B and C are mainly human pathogens, type A viruses are pathogens in many mammalian species including humans and birds. The avian influenza viruses may cause subclinical infections or serious disease, depending on their pathogenicity. Influenza A subtype H5N1 causes serious disease in poultry and can cross species barriers and infect humans as well as other species. Although cats had been considered resistant to disease from influenza virus infection, domestic cats and large felids are now known to be naturally and experimentally susceptible to infection with highly pathogenic avian influenza virus H5N1. Infected cats may have subclinical disease, or may have fever, depression, and dyspnea. Most cats are infected by direct contact with infected birds, especially eating raw poultry. It is possible that cat to cat transmission may occur. Unfortunately, little is known about the role of cats in the epidemiology of this virus. This review focuses on the current state of knowledge with a focus on practical aspects for veterinarians.
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Related articles:
Marschall, J., B. Schulz, et al. (2008). “Prevalence of influenza A H5N1 virus in cats from areas with occurrence of highly pathogenic avian influenza in birds.” Journal of Feline Medicine & Surgery 10(4): 355-358.
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Marschall, J., B. Schulz, et al. (2008). “Evaluation of a point-of-care influenza antigen test for the detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 virus in cats.” Transbound Emerg Dis 55(7): 315-7.
>> PubMed Abstract