A highly pathogenic strain of bird flu has been discovered in two dead cats, marking the first case of the virus found in mammals in almost two years.
Citing information from health authorities, an official from the Gyeonggi-do provincial government said the H5N6 strain, which has infected chickens across the country, was found in the bodies of the cats in Pocheon.
The cats were found dead this week nearby a chicken farm where the strain was first reported in November.
Health authorities say they are looking to verify whether they were infected with a more highly pathogenic strain of bird flu.
An official said that, even if it is the same N6 strain in the cats, there's very little chance the virus could jump from cats to humans, although the authorities are preparing for any possible outcome.
This season's bird flu outbreak has led to more than 20 million chickens and ducks nationwide being culled since mid-November.