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Hundreds of cats quarantined in LIC warehouse after Avian Flu outbreak

Jan. 14, 2017 By Hannah Wulkan

Hundreds of cats that were exposed to the Avian Flu are being temporarily quarantined and treated in a warehouse in an industrial section of Long Island City.

Last week, the ASPCA set up more than 450 cats from Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island in a temporary shelter in Long Island City after being exposed to the low-pathogen H7N2 strain of the Avian Flu at several Animal Care Center locations.

The quarantine comes several weeks after the Department of Health and the ACC announced that it had found 45 instances of the virus in its Manhattan facility on December 15, marking the first time the virus had ever been detected and transmitted among cats, according to the ACC.

Though it only causes a mild illness in cats and poses a low risk to humans, the cats that came in to contact with the virus will be quarantined for between 45 and 90 days in the LIC facility, or until tests show that they are all healthy and no longer contagious, according to the ASPCA.

“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. “Once the cats are healthy and no longer contagious, we’ll do everything we can to help them find homes.”

While the cats are quarantined, the ACC has hired a professional cleaning service to scrub down their facilities and ensure that they are Avian flu-free for when the cats return.

The ASPCA and ACC are also encouraging all New Yorkers who adopted a cat from an ACC shelter between November 12 and December 15 should continue to monitor their cats for flu-like symptoms, including sneezing, coughing, runny nose and runny or red eyes. If the symptoms appear, owners should take their cats to the vet and tell them that their cat has been exposed to the H7N2 strain.

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