With six-week losses from HPAI H5N6 outbreaks approaching 28 million birds, HPAI H5N8 resurfacing two weeks ago, along with recent detections of LPAI H7N2 and H7N7 in wild birds, Korea is understandably already reeling from this winter's avian onslaught.
Today their Ministry of Agriculture (MAFRA) has announced yet another potential wrinkle, in the form of a group of cats that have died suddenly, which they suspect have been infected with some type of bird flu.
We've seen cats infected with avian flu before, particularly with H5N1 (see Catch as Cats Can) and more recently in New York City with LPAI H7N2), and in 2014 Korea reported a number of dogs which showed antibodies for H5N8.
Although we don't yet know what subtype has infected and killed the cats in today's report (tests are pending), we have seen reports of H5N6 infecting felines before (see H5N6 Rising: Infecting Birds, Humans, & Even Cats).
Cat-to-human transmission of avian flu is undoubtedly rare, but as was demonstrated last week in New York City, it is possible.
According to today's report, MAFRA has provided prophylactic antivirals to all who have been exposed to the sick or dying cats. So far, none of those exposed have shown any signs of infection.
The (translated) report is a little rough in the syntax department, but the gist is fairly obvious. `Goat cat' appears to refer to feral, or `outside' cats - using other translators, it comes out at `route cat'.
Gyeonggi Pocheon Cats Bird Flu Influenza Suspect
Date Registered 2016-12-30 17:00:00
□ One male (12.25 days) and one goat kitten (12.26 days) were found dead in a house in Pocheon, Gyeonggi Province on 12.25 days and 12.26 days.
* 7 goat cats (1 mother, 6 kittens) came to the house to save food, and it is estimated that they are family members with the dead domestic cat (male).
* One male cat from our home has been sent to the quarantine headquarters via Gyeonggi Province. Three of six kittens are dead (one dead is already in the store and two dead are going to be inspected at the quarantine headquarters)
* The remaining 3 live kittens are captured in Gyeonggi Province today and will be sent to the quarantine headquarters tomorrow, and they are currently trying to capture the mother cat.
○ A PCR test was conducted at the Animal Health Hygiene Laboratory in Gyeonggi Province. As a result, it was suspected of avian influenza virus, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Livestock Quarantine Headquarters of Gimcheon Province requested a close inspection on 12.30. The Epidemiological Investigation Team (2 teams) He is
* As for the avian influenza virus type, the result will be as early as today (12.30), and as to whether the disease is highly pathogenic, tomorrow (12.31)
In this regard, the Government has implemented preventive and preventive measures against human infection as follows
○ The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries should arrange the local governments (Gyeonggi Province)○ The Disease Control Headquarters and Gyeonggi Province investigated the infection of human beings through our public health center for our cat contact persons and prescribed antiviral drugs prophylactically.- There are no suspicious symptoms to date, and we plan to carry out active surveillance over the next 10 days.
* There was a case of AI antibody found in 2014 (press release 2014.3.14).