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Cyprus cat covid strain thought to have reached UK

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A fatal strain of cat Covid which has killed thousands of animals on the island has reached the UK, reports said on Sunday.

According to the Daily Mail, scientists said a cat taken to Britain from Cyprus was found to be infected with the virus.

The cat, which developed symptoms after testing positive, is undergoing further tests and treatment after being isolated by its owner.

The strain is a new hybrid strain of an existing feline coronavirus and a canine one, called F-CoV-23, and is otherwise known as feline infectious peritonitis (FIP).

The virus is estimated to have killed at least 8,000 cats in the first half of this year on the island, but has been reported to be as high as 300,000.

In August the use of human coronavirus medication was approved for cats.

A study of the British cat, published on open access website bioRxiv, warned there is a risk of the feline covid outbreak spreading.

FIP is common globally but was never a worry before this new strain.

The author of the study, Dr Christine Tait-Burkard, told The Telegraph that the new virus “appears to spread readily”.

There is no evidence that the new virus can infect humans or dogs.

Head of Cats PAWS Cyprus Dinos Ayiomamitishas estimated that a third of the cats living on the island have died as a result of the virus. Symptoms include fever, abdominal swelling, weakness and aggressiveness.

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