Life & Everything Else

More vectors and more damage with Avian flu

Nature reports that the avian flu is far more aggressive than typical flu viruses, attacking systems and cells throughout the body. I also didn’t know that cats could be another infection vector. Glad we have poodles….

The team first reported that the H5N1 flu strain could infect domestic cats1 in 2004, a discovery that was startling because cats were previously thought to be immune to the flu. In a follow-up study, published in the American Journal of Pathology this month2, they carefully probed the tissues of eight infected animals.

The virus wreaks havoc in the brain, liver, kidney, heart and numerous other tissues, they find, killing cells and triggering inflammation. By contrast, the flu viruses that strike people in winter largely limit their damage to the nose and lungs.

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