Cat owners in north eastern Germany have been advised to keep their pets indoors and their dogs on leashes. This after the announcement that a cat on the Baltic Sea island of Ruegen died of the lethal strain of bird flu over the weekend. Health experts say the case is not likely to increase the risk of birdflu infecting people, but cat to human transmission cannot be completely ruled out.
European veterinary officials are discussing the crisis at a meeting in Brussels today, with Sweden becoming the ninth EU member state to be affected by the virus. Residents on the island of Ruegen are desperate for more information. One woman said: “We are scared because we don’t know what the symptoms are. That’s why I’d like to know more about how we can detect it. How do we know if a cat has the virus.” Meanwhile, Niger has become the second African country after Nigeria to confirm the presence of bird flu. A cull of all poultry in affected areas has been ordered.