Experts revealed two people have active tuberculosis and two others have latent TB after contact with a cat. The cases are the first known of cat-to-human TB transmission in the UK.
Nine pet cats have been investigated for TB infection in Hampshire and Berkshire. They were taken to the same veterinary surgery in Newbury, Berks.
Public Health England (PHE) says the people developed tuberculosis after contact with a domestic cat infected with Mycobacterium bovis, which cause TB in cattle (known as bovine TB) and in other animals. The ones diagnosed to have active infection are said to be responding well to treatment, while the ones with latent TB didn’t need medical attention.
PHE claims that the risk of TB transmission from cats to humans remains ‘very low.’ PHE said it had offered to screen 39 people believed to have contact with the nine infected cats. 24 people among them accepted screening. Two were found to have active TB and there were two cases of latent TB, which means they do not have an active infection.