Monday 17 July 2023

News media scaremongering about the possible spread of "coronavirus" from Cyprus to the UK

OPNION: I am annoyed at the news media again because they are creating click bait articles about the outbreak of FIP (feline infectious peritonitis) in Cyprus. FIP is a coronavirus but the way the articles are written they give the impression that FIP is a form of Covid-19 about which people are frightened. It is not.

The spotted cats of Cyprus
The spotted cats of Cyprus. Not all cats on Cyprus are spotted (spotted tabby). Image: PoC.

Spotted Street Cats of Cyprus.

The news media is deliberately creating a frightening situation or scenario to get readers. The situation on Cyprus is not a problem for the UK because although FIP is contagious it requires direct contact between cat and cat and a transmission of, for example, saliva between those two cats for the infection to be transmitted between them. It can't be transmitted like Covid-19 in the air like a typical virus.

It's impossible to envisage a cat in Cyprus suffering from FIP transmitting the disease to a cat in the UK because there are thousands of miles apart! A cat on Cyprus might travel to the UK with their owner on an aeroplane and they might transmit the disease to one cat in the UK but that'll be about it. 

And, in any event, less than 1% of cats who catch FIP develop the fatal version and die. Most often the disease is asymptomatic or it creates mild symptoms. Cats with mild symptoms of FIP which they cure themselves end up being carriers. This is a concern obviously but we shouldn't be frightened about this outbreak in Cyprus.

What chance is there of the deadly cat coronavirus in Cyprus spreading to the UK?

And, in addition, the news media has grossly exaggerated as have the Cypriot authorities the number of cats dying of FIP in Cyprus. They have quoted the figure of 300,000 stray and domestic cats dying of the disease on that island. 

I decided that it was an impossible figure because if it's true there would have to be 30 million stray and domestic cats on the island and we know that there are about 1 million cats on Cyprus

The island is famous for two things: there are more cats in Cyprus than there are humans and, secondly, the earliest recorded domestic cat lived on Cyprus around 9500 years ago as judged by the unearthing of the skeleton of a tame wildcat next to their owner.

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