Deadly virus kills 300,000 cats in Cyprus; Europe in danger of new coronavirus pandemic

Cats of Syros

More than 300,000 cats have died since January after contracting feline coronavirus reported Sky News UK, citing Dinos Ayiomamitis, head of Cats PAWS Cyprus

According to Ayiomamitis, the cats have died of feline infectious peritonitis (FIP).

FIP is a disease caused by feline coronavirus (FCoV).

Per Sky News, FCoV is a common and contagious virus in cats that is spread through their faeces. Most cats will not show symptoms, and if they do it is limited to mild diarrhoea. But in some cases, the virus mutates into FIP, which is almost always fatal.

Dr Jo Lewis, a feline veterinary surgeon, told Sky News "infection rates tend to be highest in cats living in close quarters and sharing toileting facilities", like catteries and rescue centres, for example.

Dr Lewis said: "What's concerning about the evidence from the Cyprus outbreak, is that a particularly nasty FCoV mutation seems to have already occurred.

"There's a genuine risk that if this gets into the UK it could have catastrophic consequences on our favourite pets.

"Anyone who has witnessed FIP heartache first-hand will understand the potential impact.

"We have a long history with Cyprus and plenty of British expats live and travel back and forth so the risk to UK cats is significant," Dr Lewis added.

"We need to limit that risk by screening any cats leaving Cyprus and any nearby affected countries."

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