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View Diary: Bird Flu: What We Don't Know (109 comments)

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  •  Wrong? Right! (none)
    Cats and dogs both have evidence of contracting H5N1 (Thailand). There's been panic in Europe because of it, much of it unfounded. But you want the references? Here:
    Felines are fast becoming a new focus for fears over avian flu, as cats infected with the deadly H5N1 strain are reported in Austria, Germany, Thailand and Indonesia. So could they spread the virus? The World Health Organization (WHO) has played down the danger based on current knowledge, but experts warn that the science is moving rapidly.

    The Austrian authorities announced on 6 March that three domestic cats had tested positive for H5N1 in the southern town of Graz, the scene of a recent outbreak in birds. That followed detection of the virus in a dead cat on the northern island of Rügen, Germany, on 28 February, and news that 8 of 111 apparently healthy cats tested close to bird flu outbreaks in central Thailand carried antibodies to the virus (see Nature  439, 773; 200610.1038/439773a).

    Don't accuse me of being wrong because you don't like the news.

    Meanwhile, Andrew Jeremijenko, head of influenza surveillance at the US Naval Medical Research Unit 2 in Jakarta, Indonesia, detected H5N1 in a kitten he found near a poultry outbreak in Cipedang, West Java, and tested out of curiosity on 22 January. The virus from the kitten is closely related to recent H5N1 strains isolated from humans in Indonesia: it shares genetic changes found in human strains that are not present in samples from birds.

    But scientists may just be learning what is already common knowledge among Indonesian villagers. Peter Roeder, a consultant for the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, says locals have an onomatopoeic name for bird flu "that sounds like 'plop', the sound of a chicken hitting the ground when it falls out of a tree. They also have a name for the cat form of avian flu -- 'aaargh plop' -- because cats make a screaming noise before they fall out of the tree."

    Stay tuned; this virus surprised researchersd and scientists every day.

    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

    by Greg Dworkin on Sat Mar 11, 2006 at 12:23:56 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  This makes sense (none)
      cats are very good predators and they hunt birds all day long.  Dogs also hunt and eat birds whenever they can.
      •  Indeed, yes (none)
        cats likely get it form birds. But see next set of references showing that cats can also get it from cats.

        Adapting to mammals means it's easier to catch. If a cat gets it from a bird, or a cat gets it from a cat, it still means the virus is adapting to mammalian receptors. But the cat-to-cat is extremely worrisome.

        "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

        by Greg Dworkin on Sat Mar 11, 2006 at 04:57:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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