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Humans develop TB after cat contact in 'world first'

Two people have developed tuberculosis (TB) after contact with a cat in the first ever recorded cases of cat-to-human transmission, officials have said.

Public Health England said despite this news, the risk of cat owners contract TB was "very low".

ITV News Correspondent Rupert Evelyn reports:

Health body: 'Very low' risk of cat owners getting TB

Public Health England has said the risk of cat owners contracting tuberculosis is "very low" after two people developed the disease after coming into contact with a cat.

Professor Dilys Morgan told ITV News, "Something strange has happened in this instance".

"We don't know exactly what's happened but I don't think that we can read too much into it, that it is an increasing trend," she added.

Mother: Having a cat with TB 'was terribly worrying'

Mother-of-two Clare Farley told ITV News she made the tough decision to have her cat put down when Jasper contracted tuberculosis as it was "terribly worrying".

Ms Farley told ITV News Correspondent Rupert Evelyn, "The fact that the younger [children] are their immune system is not built up yet ... I could not have a cat in the house that could potentially give them a really nasty disease".

Two people develop TB after cat contact

Two people have developed tuberculosis (TB) after contact with a cat in the first ever recorded cases of cat-to-human transmission, officials have said.

Public Health England (PHE) said two people developed tuberculosis after contact with a domestic cat infected with bacteria Mycobacterium bovis.

Vet Carl Gorman gives a cat check-up. Credit: ITV News

The bacteria causes TB in cattle (known as bovine TB) and in other animals.

Nine cases of Mycobacterium bovis infection in domestic cats in Berkshire and Hampshire were investigated by the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) and PHE last year.

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Humans catch TB from pet cats in 'world first'

Health officials investigated a TB outbreak in nine cats in Berkshire and Hampshire. Credit: Arno Burgi/DPA

Two people have developed tuberculosis (TB) after contact with a cat in the first ever recorded cases of cat-to-human transmission, officials have said.

An outbreak in nine cats was investigated in Berkshire and Hampshire last year by Public Health England (PHE) and the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboritaries Agency (AHVLA).

PHE said it had offered screening to 39 people identified as having had contact with the infected cats, of which 24 accepted.

Two people were found to have active TB, while two others had latent TB - meaning they had been exposed to the disease at some point but did not have an active infection.

The infections were the result of infection with a bacteria known as Mycobacterium bovis, which causes TB in cattle (known as bovine TB) and in other animals.

PHE said there there have been no further cases of TB in cats reported in Berkshire or Hampshire since March 2013 and said it believed the risk of transmission from cats to humans was "very low".

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