Cat with rare virus bites the mistress and dies. Investigations take place


A cat bites the mistress and then dies. The suspicion is that the animal is affected by anger and the investigations that have a positive outcome started immediately. Specifically, the National Reference Center for Anger of the Experimental Zooprophylactic Institute of Venice has isolated, on a cat brain sample sent by the Zooprophylactic Institute of Lazio and Tuscany, a Lyssavirus. The sample had been taken following the death of the cat, who had previously bitten the owner residing in the municipality of Arezzo.

The isolated virus belongs to Lyssavirus typical of bats and is different from the classic rabies virus. Prior to this case, this specific Lyssavirus had been found only once, worldwide, in a Caucasian bat in 2002, without ever having confirmed its ability to infect pets or humans.

Classical rabies is generally transmitted by domestic and wild carnivores and the latest cases had been reported in Italy in the red fox, from 2008 to 2011. Italy has been officially free from 2013.

Based on the experience gained from similar cases in other countries, for similar viruses – the Ministry of Health said – the transmission capacity from the natural reservoir to another species represents an extremely limited event, which is not followed by an epidemic spread . Currently, there is no evidence of animal-to-human transmission.

As a precaution, people who have been in contact with the cat who tested positive for the infection have undergone post-exposure prophylaxis. The epidemiological investigations that require the typicality and novelty of the case have led to the establishment at the Minister of Health, in consultation with the Tuscany Region, of a technical-scientific group that has already met today, with the participation of experts and local institutions. and national.

“We are in constant contact with the Ministry to monitor the situation, which is under control – says the commissioner of the right to health Stefania Saccardi – This is the demonstration that our system works well, because we identified the case immediately and immediately put in take all necessary measures. ”

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