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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Athens, Georgia » U.S. National Poultry Research Center » Exotic & Emerging Avian Viral Diseases Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #406110

Research Project: Control Strategies to Prevent and Respond to Diseases Outbreaks Caused by Avian Influenza Viruses

Location: Exotic & Emerging Avian Viral Diseases Research

Title: Discovery of Influenza A(H7N2) in a cat after admission to an animal shelter: A case report

item ROBERTS, ELIZABETH - University Of Wisconsin
item ALLEN, CAROLYN - University Of Wisconsin
item BRENNEN, ROBIN - Animal Care Center Of New York
item SWARTZ, ALEISHA - University Of Wisconsin
item DINES, BRENDA - University Of Wisconsin
item CIGEL, FRANCINE - Wisconsin Diagnostic Laboratory
item KILLIAN, MARY - Animal And Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
item CROSSLEY, BEATE - California Animal Health & Food Laboratory
item Suarez, David
item TORCHETTI, MIA - Animal And Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
item WATSON, CHRISTINE - University Of Wisconsin
item SLAVINSKY, SALLY - New York Department Of Health
item TOOHEY-KURTH, KATHY - Wisconsin Diagnostic Laboratory
item NEWBURY, SANDRA - University Of Wisconsin

Submitted to: Journal of Shelter Medicine and Community Animal Health
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/13/2023
Publication Date: 10/3/2023
Citation: Roberts, E., Allen, C., Brennen, R., Swartz, A., Dines, B., Cigel, F., Killian, M.L., Crossley, B., Suarez, D.L., Torchetti, M., Watson, C., Slavinsky, S., Toohey-Kurth, K., Newbury, S. 2023. Discovery of Influenza A(H7N2) in a cat after admission to an animal shelter: A case report. Journal of Shelter Medicine and Community Animal Health. 2(1):1-8.

Interpretive Summary: An unusual outbreak of an avian influenza virus in cats at an animal shelter in New York City is described. Two cats became infected with a H7N2 avian influenza virus and were euthanized because of the severe disease. Additional cats were infected and recovered. This is the first report of H7N2 avian influenza virus in cats. Closely related H7N2 avian influenza viruses had been previously isolated in poultry from live bird markets, but no detections of this type of virus were observed for over 10 years. This raises a concern about what was the source of the virus in conjunction with the severe disease and transmission in cats. The outbreak was controlled through quarantine measures at the shelter. The case report describes the timeline and testing that allowed the identification of this unusual outbreak in cats.

Technical Abstract: This case report describes the discovery of a low pathogenic avian lineage influenza A (H7N2) (A/feline/New York/16-040082-1/2016)infecting a cat in a shelter environment. Low pathogenic avian influenza virus H7N2 had previously circulated in poultry and farmed waterfowl and had reportedly been eradicated from live bird markets in 2006. Its appearance in a cat caused concern for the local cat population and had the potential to negatively impact the agricultural industry and human health. The first cat diagnosed presented to the shelter with no apparent clinical signs. Later, conjunctivitis developed and then upper respiratory congestion, which progressed to severe pneumonia that was unresponsive to treatment and characterized by dyspnea, tachypnea, and collapse. A second cat, who had entered the shelter 17 days earlier and had died at an emergency clinic, was later considered to be the index case. The second cat had similarly arrived with no apparent clinical signs, developed respiratory congestion leading to pneumonia with tachypnea and dyspnea, and tested positive for influenza A. Clinical consultation and diagnostic testing through multiple organizations identified the virus as an avian lineage H7N2 influenza virus.