German officials agreed Wednesday to order cats kept indoors and dogs on a leash in areas where wild birds infected with bird flu have been found. The move came a day after a federal lab announced that a cat found dead on the Baltic Sea island of Ruegen tested positive for the H5N1 strain of the disease, aking it the first infected mammal in the European Union.
Gerd Lindemann, the deputy agriculture minister, said the states that have found sick birds would immediately implement the order, which will apply to cats and dogs in a 3-kilometer (2-mile) radius of bird cases. However, he said officials saw no reason to push for the inoculation of domestic cats because there is currently no suitable vaccine.
In France , where wild ducks, swans and commercial turkeys in the southeast have tested positive for H5N1, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin asked cat owners not to let their pets stray into bird-flu infected areas. The dead cat is believed to have eaten part of an infected bird, following a pattern of disease transmission seen in big cats in Asia . There have been no documented cases of a cat transmitting the virus to a human, reports the AP.
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