SARS tests on 140 stray cats show one borderline case

OF the 140 stray cats that the authorities have tested over the past few weeks, 139 have been found to be free from SARS. 

The last one has a “borderline test result”, said Minister of State for National Development Vivian Balakrishnan, a member of the SARS combat team, on Friday.  

More tests are needed as this does not necessarily mean the cat has SARS.  

He explained that the animal’s blood and stool samples might have been contaminated, or the cat may have been infected with another type of unknown coronavirus. The results are due next week. 

The cats, together with dogs and rats, are being tested by the authorities to see if they can pick up and transmit the SARS virus to humans. 

Dr Balakrishnan said none of the dogs or rats has shown any suspicious signs, and it is unlikely the cat has SARS.  

Regardless of the test results, the culling of stray cats will continue, as it is part of an ongoing effort to improve hygiene at eating places. 

“Culling is a last resort,” he added. “If we didn’t have people abandoning pets, if pets were properly sterilised, properly cared for, we’d have no problems with strays.” –The Straits Times/Asia News Network  

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