Today’s Veterinary Business Staff
Cat-transmitted sporotrichosis (CTS), the cause of a zoonotic epidemic in Brazil, could spread to the United States, according to a warning issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Its establishment would be a threat to stray and domestic cat populations and also a risk to veterinarians and cat owners,” said Dr. Ian Hennessee, an epidemic intelligence service officer in the CDC’s Mycotic Diseases Branch.
CTS, caused by the species Sporothrix brasiliensis, emerged in Brazil in the 1980s and has spread to neighboring Chile and Argentina.
A study published in the March 2023 issue of Medical Mycology Case Reports detailed the first known human CTS cases outside South America. They involved three people in the United Kingdom who were infected by a 9-year-old domestic cat rescued from southeastern Brazil.
Infected cats most commonly spread the fungal infection to humans and other animals through bites and scratches.
In cats, sporotrichosis usually manifests as single or multiple skin lesions, often involving the nasal mucosa, and nodules and skin ulcers typically on the head. In people, sporotrichosis typically presents as skin lesions on the hands and arms.
The CDC recommends that:
- Veterinarians and animal caretakers be careful when handling cats with suspected sporotrichosis.
- Veterinarians consider using long-sleeved gowns, gloves, masks and eye protection when handling cats with suspected sporotrichosis. They also should consider using an N95 face mask when working with cats with multiple skin lesions and respiratory signs.
- Pet owners limit contact between domestic and feral cats.
- All pets transported internationally have appropriate health certificates.
- Veterinarians report S. brasiliensis cases to their state or local health department.