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Thursday, 27 March 2014

Pet cats infect humans with TB for first time... -

Pet cats infect humans with TB for first time... - 

In the first ever recorded cat-to-human transmission, two people in England have contracted tuberculosis from pet cats thought to have ventured into badger setts.

Two people in England have developed tuberculosis (TB) after contact with pet cats in the first ever recorded cases of cat-to-human transmission, officials have said.
The two human cases are linked to nine cases of the Mycobacterium bovis infection in cats in Berkshire and Hampshire last year, according to Public Health England (PHE).
Both people were responding to treatment.
Veterinarians believe domestic cats could be catching the disease by venturing into badger setts or from rodents that have been in badger setts.
According to PHE, transmission of the bacteria from infected animals to humans can occur by inhaling or ingesting bacteria shed by the animal or through contamination of unprotected cuts in the skin while handling infected animals or their carcasses.

However, PHE said it believed the risk of transmission from cats to humans was "very low".
Professor Danielle Gunn-Moore, a researcher in feline medicine who has been studying the presence of TB in cats, warned that people had become complacent about watching for the warning signs of the disease because there have been relatively few cases in recent years.
“We’ve all become rather complacent because we haven’t been seeing TB for so many years but bovis is back with a little bit more significance,” she said.
“It’s important we don’t get blinkered and think it’s only badgers and cattle that get infected. This is a bacteria that is not very fussy about who it infects.”
She said she had dealt with cases in which dogs had also passed on Mycobacterium bovis to humans.
Nine cases of Mycobacterium bovis infection in domestic cats in Berkshire and Hampshire were investigated by the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) and PHE last year.
PHE said it had offered TB screening to 39 people identified as having had contact with the nine infected cats.
Of these, 24 people accepted screening. Two were found to have active TB and there were two cases of latent TB, which means they had been exposed to TB at some point but did not have an active infection.
Both people with active TB disease have confirmed infection with Mycobacterium bovis.
PHE said there have been no further cases of TB in cats reported in Berkshire or Hampshire since March 2013.
Analysis of the samples of active TB from the humans and the infected cats by the AHVLA showed the Mycobacterium bovis was "indistinguishable".
This "indicates transmission of the bacterium from an infected cat", PHE said.

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