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Cats and TB - Media statement from Cats Protection

29 March 2014
Following news today of two people developing tuberculosis (TB) after contact with a cat infected with ‘Mycobacterium bovis’ (M. bovis), UK charity Cats Protection is keen to reassure people that the risk of contracting the disease from their pet is minimal.

Information from Public Health England states that M. bovis is still uncommon in cats and the risk to public is “very low.”

Many cats which have Mycobacterial infections have spontaneously-resolving skin lesions which are not a risk to people. Those cats which do have tuberculous Mycobacteria lesions are most commonly infected by a type of bacteria called Mycobacteria microti, which is caught from voles and is incredibly rare in people.

Cat owners should always seek veterinary advice if their cat is unwell, has a lump or a wound – however in 99% of such cases, the issue will not be due to any type of Mycobacterial infection, and rarer still to be caused by a type of Mycobacteria that can infect people.

Advice for pet owners about 'M. bovis' infections in companion animals is available on the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency website - Click here

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For further information or an interview, please contact Cats Protection’s Media Office on 01825 741 911 or email media.office@cats.org.uk

Notes to editors:
1. Cats Protection is the UK’s leading feline welfare charity and helps over 218,000 unwanted cats each year through a national network of 257 volunteer-run branches and 30 adoption centres.
2. Cats Protection’s registered charity number is 203644 (England and Wales) and SC037711 (Scotland). The charity’s vision is a world where every cat is treated with kindness and an understanding of its needs.
3. Founded as the Cats Protection League in 1927, the charity adopted the name Cats Protection in 1998. We ask that you use the name Cats Protection when referring to the charity in all published material.