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– Pathologists in Kenya diagnose a cat with a virus similar to HIV found in humans
–The virus is spread between cats through bites during fighting hence cat owners should be vigilant against aggressive free-roaming cats
– Humans cannot be infected by FIV, nor can cats be infected with HIV
Doctors in Nairobi have diagnosed a cat with a virus that is similar to Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) found in humans.
According to a statement released by pathologists from Lancet Kenya on Wednesday, June 1, the cat’s blood was found to have Feline Immuno-deficiency Virus (FIV), which is in the same family as HIV.
“The virus causes the cat version of AIDS by degrading their immune system, leaving them vulnerable to a host of opportunistic infections,” Lancet’s Dhaval Shah said in statement seen by TUKO.co.ke
The pet cat was subjected to the lab tests by its owners after it exhibited gradual loss of weight over a period of time and lack of energy.
Lancet has asked Kenyans who keep cats at home as pets to be vigilant.
“This is the first case of serologically confirmed FIV that we in the veterinary community are aware of in Kenya,” Shah said, adding “previously, we had suspected cases whose clinical features and peripheral blood findings corresponded to FIV.”
But Lancet has told Kenyans not to panic or throw out their pets from homes just yet for fear of the virus since it cannot be passed to humans.
“Humans cannot be infected by FIV, nor can cats be infected with HIV. This discovery should prompt cat owners to protect their cats from exposure to the virus by keeping them indoors and reducing contact with free-roaming cats which tend to carry the virus.”