In 2016, an influenza A(H7N2) virus outbreak occurred in cats in New York City’s municipal animal shelters. One human infection was initially detected.
We conducted a serological survey using a novel approach to rule out cross-reactive antibodies to other seasonal influenza viruses to determine whether additional A(H7N2) human infections had occurred and to assess exposure risk.
Of 121 shelter workers, one had serological evidence of A(H7N2) infection, corresponding to a seroprevalence of 0.8% (95% confidence interval, .02%–4.5%). Five persons exhibited low positive titers to A(H7N2) virus, indicating possible infection; however, we could not exclude cross-reactive antibody responses to seasonal influenza viruses. The remaining 115 persons were seronegative. The seropositive person reported multiple direct cat exposures without using personal protective equipment and mild illness with subjective fever, runny nose, and sore throat.
We identified a second case of A(H7N2) infection from this outbreak, providing further evidence of cat-to-human transmission of A(H7N2) virus.