Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A New Species of Deadly Fungus Is Lights Out for Cats


A cat infected by the newly-discovered fungus on the left, and post cure on the right.

Imagine a sci-fi subgenre that focused on a post-feline world. Assuredly you can't, because the thought is too horrible. But here's the perfect antagonist: a new species of feline fungus that's so far been extremely hard to cure. Oh, and it's killed humans, too.

Now, before we all start freaking out, it's highly doubtful that Aspergillus felis will bring about the kitty apocalypse. But according to Dr. Vanessa Barrs of the University of Sydney, who just published a report documenting A. felis in PLOS One, the progression of the disease caused by the fungus included "severe signs including blindness and generalised seizures" that led to the majority of treated cats to be euthanized.

Seven years ago, Barrs first observed an "unusual" infection in the eyes of three cats with fungal rhinosinusitis (FRS) at the University of Sydney's cat treatment center. Based on those first observations, she thought she might be dealing with something novel.

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