I recently wrote an article about protecting your birds from infections of the avian flu from wild birds, and to a lesser extent yourself. At the time there wasn’t much need for concern about human infections in North America since none had been reported and even cases of infected birds were not widespread. However; I just finished reading an article online about how that has changed as of late.
It is now being reported that a veterinarian in New York has just been infected with a strain of the avian flu known as H7N2, and the transmission wasn’t even from bird to human, but bird to cat to human. The vet is said to be recovering and only experienced “mild illness” but this shows a significant ability to mutate and raises the threat level for infection drastically for folks here in America. Now, not only do we need to protect our birds, but also our cats in order to better protect ourselves, especially if we are living in the North East. In light of this new development here are a few other steps you can take to stay safe.
- Keep your cats indoors to limit their contact with wild birds and other cats.
- Report stray cats in your area to local animal control.
- If your neighbors have cats that they do not maintain control over (which is not uncommon in my experience), ask them to keep the cats indoors. If they do not fulfill their obligation as an animal owner, trap the animal in a live trap and call animal control to collect it. It might seem harsh, but this is your health we are talking about and they should be better neighbors and pet owners.
- Avoid pet adoption for now if you living in the greater New York area until the threat level decreases.
- As always, try to maintain a high level of nutrition of you and your animals so that your natural immune system can do its job and protect you from the viruses that you do come in contact with.
This is just another reminder of the fact that often times it’s the littlest things, even microscopic, that pose the greatest threat to our survival. Staying alert to what is happening in our area and taking basic steps to stay as healthy as we can in all circumstances will go a long way.