Two people catch TB from cats in the county

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TWO people in Hampshire developed tuberculosis after contact with a cat in the first ever recorded cases of cat-to-human transmission.

Public Health England (PHE) said two people developed tuberculosis in the county after contact with a domestic cat infected with bacteria mycobacterium bovis.

The bacteria causes TB in cattle – known as bovine TB – and in other animals.

Nine cases of Mycobacterium bovis infection in domestic cats in Hampshire and Berkshire were investigated by the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency and PHE last year.

It has not been revealed exactly where the cases, which date back to before March 2013, occurred.

Dr Dilys Morgan, head of gastrointestinal, emerging and zoonotic diseases department at PHE, said: ‘It’s important to remember that this was a very unusual cluster of TB in domestic cats.

‘M.bovis is still uncommon in cats – it mainly affects livestock animals. These are the first documented cases of cat-to-human transmission cannot be ruled out.’