or Connect
TheCatSite.com › Forums › General Forums › IMO: In My Opinion › SARS and Pets, a new concern
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

SARS and Pets, a new concern

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Taken from cp24.com
Animal Attention

Health officials have their fingers crossed that we’ve seen the last of S.A.R.S. in Toronto for a very long time. But a new study is giving some researchers pause. Or maybe that should be paws. The research shows the virus could be transmitted to house pets like cats and ferrets. And there’s a possibility they could somehow pass it on to you.

The finding comes because scientists were looking to test potential vaccines for the mysterious malady that killed 774 people, including 44 in the G.T.A. They injected six cats and six ferrets with the virus. The animals began to show symptoms two days later, and the disease was found in their respiratory tract. And when two healthy cats and ferrets were placed with the already infected creatures, they came down with the sickness, too.

Most of the ferrets used in the study died within two weeks, while the cats showed only mild pneumonia-like symptoms. And that worries some scientists. “You might want to quarantine the pets as well as the people,†suggests S.A.R.S. expert Dr. Robert Shope. “If it's been shown that the virus can transmit from cat to cat, it doesn't take much of a leap of faith that it will transmit to humans.â€

But others are more cautious. “These animals in all likelihood did not play a significant role in spread of (S.A.R.S.) to humans,†counters World Health Organization scientist Dr. Klaus Stohr. Most researchers warn a lot more study is needed before any final accurate conclusions can be drawn.

October 29, 2003
post #2 of 13
House Cats and Ferrets Might Gets SARS
2 hours ago\t
By CHRIS KAHN, Associated Press Writer

- House cats and ferrets can get the SARS virus and spread it to other animals, a study found, raising a disturbing question: Can they give it to people?

"You might want to quarantine the pets as well as the people" in the event of an outbreak, suggested Dr. Robert Shope, an expert on emerging diseases at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. "If it's been shown that the virus can transmit from cat to cat, it doesn't take much of a leap of faith that it will transmit to humans."

Other scientists who have studied the sometimes-deadly SARS virus say pet owners should not overreact.

"These animals in all likelihood did not play a significant role" in the spread of SARS to humans, said Dr. Klaus Stohr, the World Health Organization's chief SARS scientist.

And Dr. Jeffrey Koplan, former head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said: "We still don't know if they can pass the virus to people."

Researchers discovered the vulnerability of cats and ferrets to SARS while searching for animals to test potential vaccines.

Their study, published in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature, also notes a separate report that cats were found infected with the virus in a Hong Kong apartment complex where residents contracted SARS last year.

Cats and ferrets are the first pets included on an exotic list of animals scientists think may be able to harbor the virus.

"Cats and ferrets are only distantly related," said study co-author Albert D.M.E. Osterhaus of the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. "So this demonstrates the promiscuous nature of the virus."

The origin of the virus that killed 774 people remains unknown. Scientists believe people may have gotten the virus from animals that were infected by another, still-mysterious source.

In China, where SARS festered for months before it grew into a worldwide menace this year, exotic raccoon-dogs, ferret badgers and civets have been found harboring a germ that is almost identical to the SARS virus.

The exotic animals were taken off the market for several months, but are being sold again in some places, said Dr. Henk Bekedam, the WHO's representative in Beijing.

Because of the possibility that animals can spread the respiratory virus, WHO has suggested that animals in China and elsewhere be tested for SARS and other diseases before they are eaten.

A SARS infection can cause flu-like symptoms, including a high fever, head and body aches, congestion and breathing trouble. About 8,100 people are thought to have been sickened by the virus between November 2002 and July.

For the Nature study, researchers deliberately infected six cats and six ferrets with the virus cultured from a person who died of SARS. Drops containing the virus were put in the animals' tracheas, eyes and noses.

The cats and ferrets began to show their infection two days later in excretions from the throat, and they produced antibodies within 28 days. When the animals were later put to death, the virus also was found in their respiratory tract.

The cats developed a mild case of pneumonia. The ferrets became lethargic, and one of them died four days after it was given the virus.

Scientists also placed two healthy cats and two healthy ferrets with the infected animals. The healthy ferrets showed signs of SARS infection after two days. The ferrets became emaciated and died about two weeks later, though Osterhaus said it is unclear whether this was due to the virus.

Stohr and Koplan both questioned the results of the study. Koplan, for example, said too few animals were used to reach a firm conclusion about how cats and ferrets become infected.
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
I also posted something similar in the IMO forum - what a horrible thought!
post #4 of 13
I am not going to give my opinion YET... but does anyone here know the order of the type of animal used for tests like this? I mean, they start with mice, then rabbits, cats, dogs, monkeys ,pigs? What?
post #5 of 13
check this out..

cats & SARS
post #6 of 13
I posted about this yesterday! Scarey, huh?
post #7 of 13
post #8 of 13
What is scary about reports like this is that they will start blaming the disease on the poor animals!
post #9 of 13
The writer of that report hates cats!
post #10 of 13
Sharing an interesting link

post #11 of 13
well, at least now we know that not only cats can get sars... it was horrible cos during the sars period, ppl in singapore were throwing out their pet cats and that's where the number of stray cats increased. now they are culling cats....sigh...
post #12 of 13
URL not found came up when I tried that link.
post #13 of 13
Just merged the two threads from the Cat Lounge into this thread.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: IMO: In My Opinion
TheCatSite.com › Forums › General Forums › IMO: In My Opinion › SARS and Pets, a new concern