In a follow-up on the H5N1 avian influenza situation in Poland, Veterinary officials report the State Veterinary Institute in Puławy received a total of 33 samples from cats from Gdańsk, Gdynia, Poznań, Lublin, Pruszcz Gdański, Nowy Dwór Mazowiecki, Bydgoszcz, Wrocław and the vicinity of Zamośćon June 26.
Positive results were obtained in 15 of the 19 samples already tested. All positive results indicate the genetic material of the H5N1 influenza virus and come from Gdańsk, Gdynia, Pruszcz Gdański, Lublin, Bydgoszcz and Poznań.
In addition, one of the samples examined by a team of scientists from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the Warsaw University of Life Sciences (SGGW) was positive for H5N1 influenza, which means 16 confirmed outbreaks in the country.
The World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) reports Felidae, both wild and domestic, are known to be susceptible to Influenza A(H5N1) viruses with most cases appearing to be the result of ingestion of infected carcasses of wild birds.
The severe and rapid course of the infection in the cats from Poland is also consistent with reports of this disease in Felidae.
Felidae infected with Influenza A(H5N1) viruses can show a range of clinical signs including listlessness, loss of appetite, severe depression, fever, neurological disease, respiratory and enteric signs, jaundice, and death.
Clinical signs would be expected to develop within a few days of exposure to the virus. Other fatal
cases of infection in cats with Influenza A(H5N1) have been reported from Europe and North America
during the current clade 22.214.171.124b panzootic including a fatal case of Influenza A(H5N1) reported from
a cat in France with dyspnea and nervous signs. Exposure to infected wild birds or poultry were considered the most likely modes of infection.
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