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Saturday, October 2, 1999 Published at 17:25 GMT 18:25 UK

UK: Wales

Woman dies from cat bite

The germ that killed Florence Silvera is found in most cats' mouths

An elderly north Wales woman has died after she was bitten by her cat and contracted a rare blood disorder.

The Wrexham woman had taken the cat home from an animal rescue centre.

"It could be said that the cat killed her," John Hughes, the coroner for north east Wales, said at an inquest into the death of 88-year-old Florence Silvera.

Blood samples from the woman showed an infection caused by a germ found in most domestic cats and dogs.

It rarely causes problems in humans, but in this case Silvera contracted blood poisoning.

Very rare

Tony Brudge, a consultant pathologist, told the inquest that "the infection can come from close contact with cats, which normally carry it in their mouths.

"Such septic infection is very rare and I think that Mrs Silvera was killed by a cat bite".

The coroner's verdict was accidental death.

The cat, called Helga, is back at the rescue centre.

A spokesman said the animal was friendly unless touched in one place on her back.

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