An outbreak of the H5N1 virus, also known as bird flu, affecting dozens of domestic cats in Poland is being analyzed by veterinary authorities due to its unusual characteristics and potential risk of transmission.
In an interview published by Polish media on Tuesday, a veterinarian who identified the first cases of the outbreak explained that he had warned on June 18 that in an Internet discussion group devoted to epizootics, several Colleagues are reporting cases in domestic animals. A cat that died after developing severe neurological and respiratory symptoms.
The veterinarian, who has his own practice in the town of Prawi (centre), asked not to be named because he has worked for the state. He informed media outlets across the country about the disease and publicly called for house cats not to be allowed out of here. The state and their owners stopped feeding them raw meat, which is one of the possible sources of the disease.
It was not until two weeks later that several laboratories in Poland confirmed the case of bird flu, which confirmed the impression of the Prawi veterinarian.
So far, 61 cats have died, some of them euthanized, due to the outbreak feared by Polish health authorities.
Several veterinarians across the country criticized the state veterinary inspectorate’s response, accusing the agency of “issuing some superficial advice” and failing to issue decrees, such as inspections of canned cat food consumed in the country.
A Polish veterinarian said in a radio interview on Tuesday, “It took a long time for the GIW chief inspector first to admit that the virus was detected, without specifying that it was bird flu; then he confirmed it, but said it was some cases ; and finally questioned the results of the analysis”.
The most alarming feature of the outbreak is that it happened simultaneously but in far-flung regions, and its true extent remains to be determined, with some experts saying the true number of cases could be in the hundreds.
Last week, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stressed that his agency was “monitoring the situation in close cooperation with partners and the Polish government”.newspaper nation The outbreak has raised concerns among experts about the spread of the virus to mammals, the report said. Multiple transmission possibilities currently exist: direct or indirect contact with infected birds, ingestion of infected animals or contaminated food. Regardless, this is the first report of a large number of infected cats in a single country.
More vaccine preparation
Likewise, the World Health Organization said last week that recent outbreaks indicated the need for further preparation of an “experimental vaccine” to avoid possible cases of human-to-human transmission.
To make these vaccines, vaccine candidate viruses are used that have the desired antigenicity to match circulating virus strains.
“If the virus is highly transmissible between humans, we need to take countermeasures,” Dr Zhang Wenqing, director of the Global Avian Influenza Project, told a news conference.
“This virus is of particular concern because it is known to be very dangerous to humans, although it has never been shown to spread easily from person to person,” he said.