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La Reunion - A worrying typhus epidemic threatens cats

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  • La Reunion - A worrying typhus epidemic threatens cats

    Translation Google

    Veterinarians warn of the dangers of a cat typhus epidemic

    Extremely contagious and deadly, cat typhus is spreading in Reunion Island. The number of cases has increased sharply over the past month. Veterinarians recommend that owners vaccinate their pets.

    LH / Nakia Dany and FM • Published on May 15, 2024 at 4:24 p.m.

    An apathetic animal, a lot of digestive problems with vomiting, or no longer eating, here are the signs that should alert cat owners. Veterinarians warn: an epidemic of cat typhus is underway in Reunion Island.

    Several cases have been diagnosed in the north and south of the department, sometimes with hospitalizations.

    A very contagious disease

    Cat typhus is a serious infectious disease. Very contagious, it is mainly caught by contact, particularly when sniffing the excrement of an infected cat. It is also possible to bring the virus home under your shoes. This virus is very resistant and can survive for almost a year in the external environment.

    Treatment of the virus is done with antibiotics, the disease is potentially fatal since it weakens the cat's immune system, allowing other infections to develop.

    A high mortality rate among young

    Cat typhus particularly affects young animals, with a mortality rate of 80% in unvaccinated young animals under 6 months of age. This rate reaches 40% among unvaccinated adults.

    Veterinarians therefore recommend vaccination of cats.



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    A worrying typhus epidemic threatens cats

    Pets. This virus is particularly lethal to kittens and young adult cats. Island veterinarians are calling for the vaccination of all cats, including those living in apartments.


    Author of the article: A worrying typhus epidemic threatens cats
    Written by Clicanoo
    Published on 05/15/2024 at 06:20

    In veterinary memory, such an epidemic of cat typhus had never hit the island. “In 30 years in the profession, I have never seen this ,” confirms a veterinarian from the Clinique de la vague, in Saint-Leu. “There had already been cases,” adds Doctor Maud Pivont, in Saint-Clotilde, “but these were isolated cases.” In one month, the virus seems to have spread from Saint-Leu to all regions of the island, even if it is more or less intense depending on the municipality. “I have only had 3 or 4 cases since the start of the epidemic. We are in the alert phase but we do not have a hyper-contaminating outbreak ,” explains a veterinarian from Saint-Pierre. In Sainte-Clotilde, Maud Pivont had no cases. Which does not mean that the disease is not present in the North. Associations and foster families have had infected cats.

    Fever, loss of appetite, diarrhea...

    It was in Saint-Leu that the epidemic started at the beginning of April. In the first days, the Wave Clinic received up to 9 cats daily. The disease struck two families with around fifteen cats each. Admission figures have since decreased, now limited to one or two per day. In total, around fifty cats were hospitalized by the clinic. About ten died. An encouraging figure given the usual lethality of the virus.

    On average, one in two infected cats are not resistant to the virus according to a German study. In kittens under 14 weeks old, the disease is even more dangerous. 90% of them cannot resist it. It is as dazzling as it is contagious. A cat can die within 3 to 5 days if left untreated. And again, this does not guarantee its survival. Veterinarians generally do not risk issuing a prognosis to owners. “We have seen dying cats who have survived,” confirms our Saint-Leu veterinarian. “But it is very hard to anticipate their recovery.”

    Fever, loss of appetite, diarrhea and vomiting are among the main symptoms, although they do not necessarily appear together. The incubation time for the disease is four days. The cat then appears tired and quickly dehydrates.

    Vaccination to contain the epidemic

    Veterinarians put them on antibiotics to restore the proportion of white blood cells. The cats are also put on a drip to be rehydrated. If they do not die within the first few days, the cats are hospitalized for 5 to 6 days.

    The disease is transmitted by contact, particularly when a cat sniffs the stools of one of its peers. But it can also be transmitted via contaminated shoes or clothing of owners. This is why veterinarians recommend vaccination of all cats, including those living in apartments.

    The vaccine, generally priced between 50 euros and 70 euros, is the only way to protect cats and contain the virus. “It is effective and acts quickly. After a week, it provides protection to cats,” insists Maud Pivont. Many owners alerted by email to the existence of this virus by their veterinarian have vaccinated their cat in recent weeks. But in the field, fake news is also present. "There are videos showing cats dying after receiving a Messenger RNA vaccine. This is completely false. This expensive technology does not exist for cats. The vaccine used is proven. It involves injecting an attenuated virus into the cats.”

    The dazzling nature of the epidemic and its circulation in the different regions of the island raise fears that it will take hold over time. "We are coming to the end of the main breeding season for cats. We hope to nip this epidemic in the bud so that it does not take hold. But with the many stray animals, I fear that we will have to learn to live with it. It would be a disaster,” worries Maud Pivont. The less deadly counterpart of this virus for dogs has already been present on the island for several years.

    J.-Ph.L.

    Animaux de compagnie. Ce virus est particulièrement létal pour les chatons et les jeunes chats adultes. Les vétérinaires de l'île appellent à la vaccin...
    "Safety and security don't just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear."
    -Nelson Mandela
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