QUEENS — More than 450 cats were quarantined in a Queens Animal Care Center after being exposed to the avian flu virus, officials said Thursday.
Hundreds of cats were taken from ACC shelters in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island last week after showing symptoms of the illness. The felines will undergo lab tests and be quarantined in the temporary shelter for between 45 to 90 days.
“Responders from the ASPCA, ACC and other agencies are working around the clock to safely monitor and care for these cats,” said ASPCA President & CEO Matt Bershadker in a statement. “Once the cats are healthy and no longer contagious, we’ll do everything we can to help them find homes.”
People who adopted cats from ACC shelters between Nov. 12 and Dec. 15 should monitor their pets for flu-like symptoms, including sneezing, coughing, runny nose and runny or red eyes.
If a cat shows symptoms, owners are advised to take them to a veterinarian and tell the doctor the pet may have been exposed to the H7N2 virus.
Most casts suffer mild flu-like symptoms and recover fully, officials said.
The influenza is mainly found in birds, but sometimes mutates and effects mammals.
It was not immediately clear why the flu mutated and spread so quickly across the city last fall.