Infectious Diseases 2006

Infectious Diseases 2006

H5N1 in cats in Austria

6 March, 2006

Three cats have tested positive for the deadly strain of avian influenza in Austria's first reported case of the disease spreading to an animal other than a bird, state authorities said Monday. The sick cats were among 170 living at an animal shelter in the southern town of Graz where the disease was detected in chickens last month, authorities said. In Austria, all the cats from the affected shelter have been moved to a location where they will remain under observation. The shelter has been closed, Health Minister Maria Rauch-Kallat told reporters in Vienna. "We have decided to put all the cats in quarantine," Rauch-Kallat said. "Here they will be observed by veterinarians and experts in the coming days and weeks." German authorities last month confirmed that a cat on the Baltic Sea island of Ruegen had succumbed to the deadly virus, which it is believed to have caught by eating an infected bird. That would be consistent with a pattern of disease transmission seen in wild cats in Asia.Austria confirmed the nation's first case of H5N1 in a wild bird last month and has since detected several dozen cases in birds, including 29 in Styria.