Two people in England have been infected with TB by domestic cats who contracted the bovine strain of tuberculosis.
The announcement came from Public Health England and they say the risk of further spread of the disease is very low.
“It is quite alarming, I agree. But let’s put it into context here: we’ve got a small number of cases of TB in cats and this is the first time transmission has been documented so the risk remains very low. So, as I say, there is no indication the cases in cats are increasing,” says Dr. Dilys Morgan of Public Health England.
There are reportedly nine cats who are carrying the strain of TB that infected the two people. The same strain has been found in two other people but the disease is in its latent form. This particular strain is bovine TB which comes from cattle but badgers may have been behind the outbreak.
Professor Danielle Gunn-Moore of the Feline Clinic at the Roslin Institute says that future outbreaks can be prevented from paying attention to the health of pets.
“We’re not thinking about infectious diseases but if we have a cat or dog with a skin lesion that won’t heal or a persistent cough, then we must take them to the vet and the vet needs to have a look at them and the vet needs to be thinking that TB might be a possibility.”