United States: A rare fungal infection cluster was found in two pet cats and a vet who treated the animals, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on Wednesday. 

More about the cases of infection 

Three incidents of rare infection have taken place late in 2022 and early in 2033, and these were caused by a fungus called Sporothrix schenckii

A similar fungal infection has also appeared to be spreading late in South America’s cats, which is also being monitored by the CDC. 

According to NBC News reports, these infections are associated with a fungus likened to Sporothrix brasiliensis, an unidentified parasite likely in the southern part of the country and has yet not been found in the US. 

The case findings were published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases

Sporotrichosis infection is rare – CDC 

According to the CDC, Sporotrichosis disease is caused by a Sporothrix infection, which is rarely found in the United States. It is generally spread through coming in contact with sharp plants, which can cut through the skin, such as the thorns of rose plants. It is because it has earned a name for itself, the moniker “rose gardener’s disease.” 

Moreover, sporotrichosis causes a skin-related infection that takes time to heal; however, it is not contagious, as described by the CDC

Infection in Cats is more dangerous 

In the case of cats getting infected by the disease, they hold a high fungal load. In other words, their wounds are more vulnerable to spreading the infection among other cats, dogs, and even people, as said Ian Hennessee, an epidemic intelligence service officer at the CDC and the lead author of the report. 

Hennessee added, “They get these awful wounds on their face, in their nasal cavities, and on their paws, and those lesions are full of these fungi,” as NBC News reported. 

Moreover, Dr. Erin Petro, a state public health veterinarian at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment in Topek, said, “The only reason this particular case came to the attention of the health department was because of the human involvement,” and That piqued our interest.” 

Rare Fungal Infection Cluster Found in US Cats and Vet: CDC Report. Credit | CDC
Rare Fungal Infection Cluster Found in US Cats and Vet: CDC Report. Credit | CDC

The first case of infection in cats 

The first case of the infection was highlighted in the news when an indoor-outdoor cat with a wound on her paw was not healed with antibiotics. Later, she spread the infection by scratching a veterinary technician, which punctured through his glove and the skin beneath as well. 

Additionally, a few months later, a cat from the same household also got sickened from the infection. 

Neither of the first cats nor the vet tech was diagnosed with a fungal infection soon enough, hence delaying the administration of antifungal treatment

Therefore, as soon as the vet tech was administered with antifungal medication for eight months, her infection was cleared. 

Although the first cat also received antifungal treatment, her health only deteriorated. Therefore, her owner had her euthanized. 

The second cat received the treatment much sooner and in a timely manner; hence, it recovered. 

Dr. Arturo Casadevall, a microbiologist and chair of molecular microbiology and immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, said, “The good news is that this fungal infection is treatable and cats can be cured if a diagnosis is made early.” 

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