Lee K, Yeom M, Hang Vu TT, Do HQ, Na W, Lee M, Jeo. Characterization of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza A (H5N1) Viruses isolated from Cats in South Korea, 2023. Emerg Microbes Infect. 2023 Dec 4:2290835
However, a striking paradigm shift in the global epidemiology of HPAI H5N1 clade 126.96.36.199b emerged during the winter of 2021–2022. Interspecies transmission of HPAIVs has been increased, in addition to conventional infections in poultry and wild bird populations. These cross-species transmissions have affected over 43 mammalian species spanning Europe, North America, South America, and Asia. Besides these instances in wild mammals, it was also reported in cats in France, the United States, Italy, and Poland between 2022 and 2023. In June and July 2023, feline AIV infections, confirmed to be caused by H5N1, occurred at two different shelters in Seoul, South Korea, with no confirmed human cases involved. The source of infection in the first case remains unclear; in the second case, the infection originated from infected poultry feed. This was the first case of mammalian infections caused by HPAI H5N1 in South Korea. This study covers the first case, whereas the second case is currently being analysed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. We describe the potential origin and genetic characteristics of HPAI H5N1 viruses from cats based on whole genome sequencing and phylogenetic analysis.
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