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How Likely Are You To Catch Tuberculosis From Your Cat?

How Likely Are You To Catch Tuberculosis From Your Cat

According to Public Health England (PHE) two people have contracted tuberculosis bacillus [TB] from their cats! This was the first ever recorded case of a human coming in contact with a cat and contracting the disease. The PHE the two people who have contracted this disease are infected with the bacteria Mycobacterium bovis. This is the type of bacteria found in cattle that is responsible for causing TB in animals. It is more commonly known as bovine TB.

How Likely Are You To Catch Tuberculosis From Your Cat

There were approximately 9 cases of Mycobacterium bovis infections in domestic cats in Berkshire and Hampshire last year. These were investigated by the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) and PHE. The Public Health England has offered evaluation to approximately thirty-nine people who had come in contact with these nine cats. Only twenty-four of them willingly agreed to undergo this evaluation and testing. Out of them two people were found to have latent Tb. This means at some point or another they would have been exposed to the virus but did not for some reason have an active infection. Both persons infected have been under treatment since and have been responding well to treatment.

Upon closer examination of the samples of the active TB taken from the two infected and the cats as well, the M. bovis virus showed up as “indistinguishable”. This “indicates transmission of the bacterium from an infected cat”, PHE said. Public Health England went on to warn people as to how the virus is transmitted from animals to humans – “[It] 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”.

“It’s important to remember that this was a very unusual cluster of TB in domestic cats,” and it is still rare as per Dr Dilys Morgan, head of gastrointestinal, emerging and zoonotic diseases department at PHE.

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