A veterinarian who was obtaining a specimen from one of the cats infected with bird flu at the Manhattan Animal Care Centre has been infected with the disease. The veterinarian’s illness was short, and the veterinarian has completely recovered.
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene screened the 160 employees and volunteers who were also exposed to the sick cats; no one else had contracted the disease.
Over 100 cats across New York City shelters have been diagnosed with the bird flu. The disease is highly contagious, though this is the first documented instance in which the disease has been transferred from a cat to a human. There are currently no documented incidents when of human-to-human transmission.
The NYC Department of Health maintains that risk to humans from this particular strain, H7N2, is low. However, if you’ve adopted a cat from a New York City shelter within the last few weeks, you should monitor your cat for signs of illness, including lethargy and lack of appetite.