Ebola Virus and Our Cats

The Ebola virus is a present epidemic, affecting not only humans, but also animals.

I’m sure you’ve all heard news of the Ebola virus outbreak in Central Africa that has taken the lives of over 900 victims. First discovered in Central Africa in 1976, the Ebola virus is a hemorrhagic fever caused by a group of viruses, meaning once contracted, the victim bleeds internally and externally. The virus has an eight to 21-day incubation period, with early symptoms presenting as headaches, muscle weakness, fever and sore throat. Once the disease progresses, the victim’s kidney and liver functions become impaired and the victim experiences bleeding both inside and outside the body. The virus has a 50 to 90 percent fatality rate, and there is no cure.

Scientists attribute the introduction of the Ebola virus to fruit bats. Dr. David A. Sanders of Purdue University told Discovery News, “In general, Ebola researchers think that the natural host of Ebola virus are fruit bats, and that the virus is transmitted to non-human primates and then to humans through the bush meat trade.”

A growing concern has been how the virus affects animals.

As of the writing of this article, the virus has been detected in monkeys, chimpanzees, rodents, pigs, fruit bats, gorillas, porcupines and dogs. Of these, primates seem to be the most susceptible to contracting the virus. They often eat the fruit the bats eat, kill and eat the fruit bats or eat meat from infected animals.

You may notice that cats aren’t on the list.

Dr. Sanders told CatChannel.com, “I know of no evidence for Ebola in domestic cats. They would have to come into contact with an infected bat or the bodily fluids of a human, or primate. They are likely to be susceptible. It is not impossible for infection of a cat to occur—just unlikely.”

That’s good news for cat lovers.

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