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Cat disease. Avian flu – a virus found on a poultry sample. An appeal to undertake research on meat sold in Poland

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For several weeks, the H5N1 virus has been killing cats all over Poland. It was found in one of the samples of poultry meat that the deceased animal ate before death. Krzysztof Pyrć, head of the Virology Laboratory at the Małopolska Center of Biotechnology of the Jagiellonian University, emphasizes that this does not mean that the meat sold in Poland is dangerous, but appeals to the veterinary services and sanitary inspection to examine the meat available in Poland and consider including meat testing for influenza H5N1.

About the virus that kills cats we have been informing on tvn24.pl for a long time. The matter of explaining what is responsible for their deaths was dealt with, among others, by experts at the Małopolska Center of Biotechnology of the Jagiellonian University. They determined that one of the most likely causes of infection of cats with the H5N1 virus is food, specifically raw meat.

Experts from three research teams (led by Prof. Pyrć, Dr. Maciej Grzybek and Dr. Łukasz Rąbalski) received five samples of meat eaten by cats before death.

Virus in one of five samples

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“The analysis showed that there is a virus in one of the five samples. Further analysis showed that the meat contains not only the genetic material of the virus, but also an infectious virus,” Prof. Pyrć tweeted. He adds that scientists were able to isolate virus in cell cultures.

What does it mean? The expert emphasizes that it cannot be unequivocally ruled out that the virus was found on raw meat later, or that the meat was contaminated by the owners with the virus developing in the cat’s body. However, it indicates that it cannot be ruled out that it was the meat that was the source of infection.

SEE ALSO: Mysterious cat disease. The virologist recommends what to do to reduce the risk of infection

“It would not be surprising, because already in 2007, a case of contamination of frozen duck meat with the H5N1 virus was reported, which caused outbreaks of the disease in German– points out Professor Krzysztof Pyrć.

An entry signed by three experts from research teams investigating cat infections.

Call for research

Experts (Dr. Grzybek and Dr. Rąbalski are also signed on Twitter) in connection with finding the virus, appeal to the veterinary services and sanitary inspection to examine the meat available in Poland and “consider including meat testing for H5N1 influenza”:

“This is crucial not only because of cats, but also because this virus poses a threat to human life,” the published statement reads.

This is – as emphasized in the entry – important because the Polish poultry industry accounts for almost 20 percent. the EU market, and the estimated value of meat exports is over EUR 3 billion.

“It’s worth imagining the consequences for this sector of the economy if it actually turned out that contaminated meat ended up in FranceItaly or Germany” – we read in the entry published by Professor Pryć.

“Market Meat”

The entry signed by three experts from the Małopolska Center of Biotechnology of the Jagiellonian University was published in connection with the article by “Gazeta Wyborcza”. The author of the text reports that the meat sample on which the virus was found was purchased in one of the supermarkets.

The National Poultry Council – Chamber of Commerce reacted with indignation to the publication. In a statement issued, they claim that the text contained “unverified and unconfirmed information”. They indicate that “current scientific knowledge does not allow for a clear link between fed poultry meat and the occurrence of H5N1 avian influenza in domestic cats.”

A virologist on a mysterious cat diseaseTVN24

Representatives of the Chamber claim that the meat samples submitted for testing were taken “in violation of the elementary rules of sterility, without observing any rules and methods of collecting research material”.

The statement also reads that the research of the National Veterinary and National Research Institute shows that the probable source of infections in cats is probably wild birds. Members of the Chamber believe that the dissemination of “unconfirmed information” regarding the link between the disease is harmful to poultry producers.

“Such information arouses unjustified anxiety among consumers of these products and lowers their confidence in producers of meat products” – it was noted.

Owners of infected cats under epidemiological surveillance

Due to H5N1 virus infections in cats, it took preventive measures to prevent influenza in humans. Owners and carers of infected cats have been placed under epidemiological supervision, GIS announced on Tuesday.

At the same time, it was emphasized that human infection occurs extremely rarely and only as a result of direct and prolonged contact with sick birds. The possibility of infection mainly concerns people professionally in contact with poultry and wild birds.

In Poland, no cases of human infection with the A/H5N1/ influenza virus have been registered so far, emphasized the Chief Sanitary Inspector.

SEE ALSO: Dead birds over the lagoon. The community asks for caution. “Highly pathogenic bird flu virus”

The risk of transmission of infection from a sick cat to a human is negligible. The owners of dead cats with confirmed infection with A/H5N1/ are contacted preventively by employees of poviat sanitary and epidemiological stations, the Chief Sanitary Inspectorate indicated.

Conversation with virologist prof.  Asking about the virus that affects cats

Conversation with virologist prof. Asking about the virus that affects catsOn Monday, the Chief Veterinary Inspectorate confirmed that avian influenza virus was detected in most samples taken from dead cats. – We did not expect that this particular virus would turn out to be the cause of the disease – said virologist Prof. Krzysztof Pyrc. As he emphasized, both cats and dogs should not become his first target.TVN24

GIS appeals to cat owners

health department advises cat owners to avoid direct contact with sick poultry, dead wild birds and objects with traces of bird droppings.

After coming home, you should immediately protect your shoes against access by cats, clean your shoes after returning home and after staying in outdoor conditions where they could be contaminated with bird droppings, and disinfect the surface where the shoes were placed.

It is also recommended to wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water, especially when you come home and before preparing a meal.

If your pet shows symptoms of the disease, you should immediately report it to the veterinarian, and in the event of disturbing flu-like symptoms – contact the doctor.

tvn24.pl, Gazeta Wyborcza, PAP

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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