Veterinarians have called on cat owners to vaccinate their pets against an epidemic of cat typhus.
A spate of cases have been reported in Mulhouse (Haut-Rhin), Angoulême (Charente) and Liévin (Pas-de-Calais).
They say kittens should be initially vaccinated from an early age, around eight weeks, with a second injection a month later, followed by a booster jab after one year.
Highly contagious among cats but no risk to humans
Cat typhus, also known as feline panleukopenia, is highly contagious and is transmitted through contact with faeces and urine, as well as objects that have been contaminated by an infected cat.
It is resistant to heat, as well as to many common disinfectants, solvents and detergents.
It does not affect humans but can severely impair cats’ health, affecting their organs, intestine and bone marrow, as well as causing digestive problems.
Without swift medical treatment, it can be fatal.
Symptoms usually appear around two to seven days after infection and include acute vomiting, diarrhoea and a fever.