Thursday, March 16, 2006

Experts unsure if pets can transmit bird flu to humans

Scientists are in the dark about whether bird flu could be transmitted from cats and other pets to people, according to David Nabarro, the senior United Nations co-ordinator for avian influenza, Raphael Minder reports from Brussels.

Dr Nabarro said on a visit to Brussels that there was insufficient research at this stage to establish how big the risk was of people contracting the disease from pets, even if the working assumption was that the risk was small. His comments come after the recent discovery of an infected cat in northern Germany, which has prompted some European authorities to urge pet owners to keep them indoors or tightly controlled.

Dr Nabarro said: “It’s quite likely that animals which feed on birds are going to get ill with H5N1 in regions where dead birds are showing up . . . The unanswered question is what role are these animals going to have as transmitters to humans. The answer is quite simply: we do not know.’’

[Read more here]

Posted by john T. on 03/16 at 03:44 PM
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