Cats on Raw Meat Diet May Have Passed Tuberculosis to Humans, Study Finds | Inside Edition

Cats on Raw Meat Diet May Have Passed Tuberculosis to Humans, Study Finds

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The investigation suggested that the human cases could represent “zoonotic transmission from these cats,” or infection from handling the contaminated food.

Cats in the U.K. who happened to be on a raw meat diet may have passed tuberculosis to their human counterparts, according to an investigation conducted by veterinary medicine expert Conor O’Halloran of the University of Edinburgh and his colleagues.

The investigation was launched after 47 cats presented “with suspected or definite infection with Mycobacterium bovis, the bacteria responsible for bovine TB,” the Daily Mail reports.

Mycobacterium bovis was found to have caused skin lesions, swollen lymph nodes, respiratory problems, lethargy, lost appetite and weight loss, in the cats. The common denominator in the study was the raw meat diet, which was reportedly traced back to a single British supplier, who has since removed products from the shelves in a recall.

The investigation also said that latent tuberculosis was found in four of the animal's owners and a veterinarian, the Daily Mail reported. They also said that one owner required treatment to address the infection.

The investigation suggested that the human cases could represent “zoonotic transmission from these cats,” or infection from handling the contaminated food.

“Our results provide compelling evidence that the commercial raw diet of these cats was the likely route of infection in this outbreak of cases,” the researchers wrote. “Investigations revealed affected cats were mainly indoor‐only, and had been fed the same commercial raw food as at least part of their diet. This diet was recalled by the manufacturer due to failure of statutory meat inspection of the component venison.”

The Daily Mail reported that there were only been six documented cases of humans catching tuberculosis from cats prior to this study, and Public Health England has reported that the risk of transmission from cats to humans is low.

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