No Further AI Cases Detected from Cat Food Products


SEOUL, Aug. 9 (Yonhap) — The South Korean Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs reported Wednesday that no additional cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (AI) have been found from cat food products.

Earlier, traces of the virus were identified in two varieties of cat food — Balanced Duck and Balanced Chicken manufactured by Nature’s Raw — used at a shelter in Seoul last week.

In July, a cat at the shelter in Seoul’s Gwanak district died after exhibiting respiratory symptoms, and it was later found to be infected with an H5N1 strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza.

In response, the government ordered the manufacturer to recall the products and initiated an investigation into all producers of animal food that use chicken, duck and other meats.

The ministry contacted 286 buyers of the products and instructed them to destroy the items.

The cats belonging to these consumers have not shown any signs of the highly pathogenic AI, and regional governments are observing them closely through next week.

Concerns have grown over the potential spread of avian influenza among cats and other animals, as two cats at a shelter in Seoul’s Yongsan Ward were found to have been infected last month, the first such cases since 2016.

“Pets living at homes are highly unlikely to be infected with the highly pathogenic avian influenza, and there have been no cases of such infections between cats globally,” an official from the agricultural ministry said.

A veterinarian takes a sample from a cat at an animal shelter in Yeoju, southeast of Seoul, on Aug. 1, 2023. (Yonhap)

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