A rare infectious disease found in cats that causes nasty skin blisters in humans has been detected in the UK for the first time. The fungal infection had previously only ever been found in South America. But now, up to three British citizens have been affected by the fungal infection. As a result, they suffered wounds and ulcers on their hands, wrist and arms, according to a report in the MailOnline.
The fungus is called sporotrichosis brasiliensis and the victims are believed to have picked it up from the same 9-year-old male long-haired domestic cat who was first rescued by a family in living in South-Eastern Brazil at the time.
While the victims’ identities have not been revealed, it is thought that a mother, daughter and male vet were all scratched by the infected feline. The 63-year-old mother, originally from south-eastern Brazil, had been in the UK for three years and had not travelled back to Brazil in that time.
But after her cat scratched her while she was feeding it, she developed wounds on her hand lasting three weeks. Her lymph nodes also became swollen.
Her 30-year-old daughter moved to the UK with her during the same period and has also not returned since. She was also scratched by the pet, developing an ulcer on her middle finger which persisted for eight weeks.
Their GP then referred them to their local infectious diseases clinic, which gave them itraconazole – medication used to treat fungal infections – for a six-month course of treatment.
A vet who examined that cat at an appointment was also scratched by the infected animal. Four weeks after the appointment, he also developed an ulcer on his middle finger as well as lesions on his arm.
A biopsy confirmed that he also had the fungal infection and he was given a three-month course of itraconazole.