A veterinarian resident in New York City discovered he is a disease-ridden strain of bird flu, according to NYC health representatives. It is the first time as they know. The case here, a human is found to be the carrier of the new strain (H7N2), however,health care officials are not yet certain if the cat had infected the vet.
New York health department said that the strain of H7N2 was recognized on early stage.
"The illness was mild, short-lived and has resolved," the department stated.
Bird Flu And Cats
Typically, bird flu has no effect on cats but for the few weeks past, more than 100 cats have been positive with the virus in NYC as they tested. The virus was easily spread between cats, however, for the safety, each of the infected cats that are identified have been separated from other animals in a shelter in New York. Health department expected the felines to recover soon.
Preventing A Bird Flu Epidemic
Vets and doctors are now raising alerts because of this case. Contact between human and cats are handled cautiously. With this approach, they believe it can be contained. H7N2 virus can be a thinkable widespread and it can affect human in epidemic catastrophe.
NBC News also reported that there are more than 160 employees and volunteers in Animal Care Center across New York. There are also several people who had exposed to sick cats and other animals and can be in hazard-handling. Though, each of them where been screened by the health department and fortunately they have not found yet in anyone else contact with H7N2 virus.
Citizens Flu Concern Rises
On a general picture, healthcare practitioners are now concerned with their health in regards about the flu, especially after discovering the new case of contact.
"We are always concerned about the possibility of re-assortment between animal flu and human flu so, this is something that we have been watching very closely," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Thomas Frieden said.
"As we've seen with influenza viruses in the past, flu viruses can mutate quickly, which makes it hard to find an effective treatment. The viruses can swap large parts with one another and new pandemics of the virus are seen when a "new" strain like H7N2 comes seemingly out of nowhere," he added.
This is worrying most especially for doctors and vets. It was unthinkable that the H7N2 virus can be transmitted from pets to human and this type of flu is extremely deadly.
Just a normal flu strains are bad enough. A "normal" flu virus kills anywhere between 4,000 and 5,000 people each year. The new strain virus can increase that number exponentially. "Any time we have a new strain of flu spreading in animals and in humans we are very much on the alert," Frieden said.
How Can You Prevent Bird Flu
People can and do catch the virus from animals and vice-versa. If you have an animal at home (specifically a cat) and you recognize any changes or notice they are sick, consult your local vet right away. In addition, be sure to wash your hands after handling and also all items your hands have contacted.