Four more pet cats die from bird flu - raising fears a spillover could be closer trends now

Four more pet cats die from bird flu - raising fears a spillover could be closer trends now

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Four more pet cats have died from H5N1 bird flu in the US.

Two of the pets in South Dakota had no links to cattle dairy products - the first time there have been cases in pets without connections to outbreaks on farms.

The development could be significant because it suggests the virus is edging closer to humans.

South Dakota's state veterinarian, Beth Thompson, said there was no livestock on the property where the pets died, but said it is not yet known how to cats became infected.

Two other cases of bird flu in barn cats on commercial diary farms, where cows were also infected with H5N1, recently occurred in Michigan - one in Isabella County and another in Ionia County, where two Virginia opossums were also infected.

It is the first time there have been cases in pets without connections to cows infected to H5N1

It is the first time there have been cases in pets without connections to cows infected to H5N1

The above map shows the states that have reported bird flu infections in dairy herds

The above map shows the states that have reported bird flu infections in dairy herds

Only one person so far - a farmer in Texas - has tested positive for H5N1 virus this outbreak, but the CDC fears many more could be infected and not coming forward.

It comes as the FDA's top official revealed the agency is gearing up for a bird flu pandemic in people that could kill one in four of those it infects.

The two cats without connections to poultry or dairy cows are from South Dakota's Campbell County, which is in the northern part of the state on the border with North Dakota.

The news came from a notification from US government officials

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