The head of the association of veterinarians in Cyprus on Wednesday dismissed as baseless the claim that a deadly mutation of a virus has killed about 300,000 cats, saying that they are misrepresenting the small that island nation overseas as a “feline cemetery.”
The director of the Pancyprian Veterinary Association, Nektaria Ioannou Arsenoglou, says that the figures presented by local animal activists and raised by foreign media outlets “just don’t add up” because a survey of 35 veterinary clinic conducted by the Association showed only one island-wide total of almost 8,000 deaths.
Arsenoglou told the Associated Press on Wednesday that the local mutation of Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP), caused by the feline version of the coronavirus, is almost always fatal if left untreated, but medication can nurse cats back to health. in approximately 85% of cases. Spread through contact with cat feces, the virus or its mutations are not transmissible to humans.
But the specific medicine that cures the so-called “wet” and “dry” forms of the disease is very expensive, although Arsenoglou said that he is “hopeful” that the efforts of the government authorities to obtain the tools of medicine will soon bear fruit.
It is not clear how many wild cats live in Cyprus, but they have a long history on the island. According to Byzantine legend, cats were introduced to Cyprus by Saint Helen when she returned to Constantinople after completing her search for the cross where Jesus Christ was crucified to fight the many poisonous snakes that plagued the island.
Wild cats are loved by most Cypriots, who go the extra mile to feed and care for the cats.
A Cypriot cat activist named Marina Niaou who maintains a feral cat colony complained to the AP that authorities are dragging their feet in finding cheap interventions to tackle the spread of the virus.
The mutation reached the attention of veterinarians as well as many cat keepers on the island in January of this year, with cases that continued to rise until mid-spring when, Arsenoglou said, they began to level off. .
According to Arsenoglou, the Association has set up a “task force” of specialist veterinarians to monitor the spread of the mutation as well as to inform fellow veterinarians and activists of the latest developments.
The feline coronavirus has been around since 1963. Previous outbreaks, including one in Greece more than two decades ago, eventually disappeared without the use of any medication, Arsenoglou said.
Measures have been implemented to prevent the export of the mutation through mandatory medical check-up of all cats destined for adoption abroad.
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Citation: COVID-19 mutation causes fewer cat deaths than claimed, Cyprus veterinary leader says (2023, July 19) retrieved 19 July 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023 -07-covid-mutation-cat-deaths-cyprus.html
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