TB may be spreading from cat to cat.
By Alice Philipson 28th March 2014. Find Full Article Here:-
Cat to cat transmission of TB among family pets in the UK Home Counties cannot be ruled out, according to officials.
Family cats may be spreading tuberculosis to one another, officials have said.
An outbreak among pets in the Home Counties has seen at least nine cats become infected with TB in a matter of weeks.
While it is thought the most likely cause of the disease is pets fighting with infected badgers, officials have said they cannot rule out that the bacteria has been spread from cat to cat.
Two cat owners have been confirmed as having caught the disease from their kitten and are currently being treated.
Six of the infected cats were found to be living within 250 yards of one another on an estate near Greenham Common, in Berkshire.
Professor Noel Smith, Head of the Bovine TB Genotyping Group at Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratory Agency, said: “The most likely source of infection is infected wildlife, but cat-to-cat transmission cannot be ruled out.”
There are also warnings that tuberculosis may have spread beyond the two people known to have contracted the disease, according to Public Health England.
Dr Dilys Morgan, head of gastrointestinal, emerging and zoonotic diseases department at PHE, said other people could have been affected but said it was a “personal choice” as to whether potential victims took up screening.
“It may be it’s spread further. We have screened all close contacts related to this incident and we have offered screening to all close contacts in this incident,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today.
Asked about reports that some had turned it down, she said: “That’s a personal choice.
“We have assessed the contacts, we have offered them screening, we have offered them chemoprophylaxis – so preventing the disease if they are positive.”
She said it was important to “get this into perspective” when considering wider risks.