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Two people in England have developed tuberculosis (TB) after contact with pet cats in the first ever recorded cases of cat-to-human transmission.

Public Health England (PHE) says the two human cases are linked to nine cases of the Mycobacterium bovis infection in cats in Berkshire and Hampshire last year.

Cat

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.

PHE said it had offered TB screening to 39 people identified as having had contact with the nine infected cats.

Of these, 24 people accepted screening. Two were found to have active TB and there were two cases of latent TB, which means they had been exposed to TB at some point but did not have an active infection.

Both people with active TB disease have confirmed infection with Mycobacterium bovis.