Can Fido Catch Your Flu?
Analysis by Jennifer Viegas
Oct 4, 2012 12:50
November 15, 2012
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With the flu season ready to hit its usual peak in November, health experts are growing increasingly concerned about people passing illnesses on to their pets.
The deadly H1N1 virus of recent years is of particular concern, with humans more likely to be the carriers and our pets the victims.
The journal Veterinary Pathology, for example, documented how an Oregon woman became severely ill with the flu and had to be hospitalized. While she was still in the hospital, her cat -- an indoor cat with no exposure to other sick people, homes, or wildlife -- died of pneumonia caused by an H1N1 infection.
Since then, researchers have identified a total of 13 cats and one dog with pandemic H1N1 infection in 2011 and 2012 that appeared to have come from humans. Pet ferrets have also been shown to be infected, and some died. All of the animals’ symptoms were similar to that of humans - they rapidly develop severe respiratory disease, stop eating and some die. Serological studies suggest there is far more exposure to flu virus in cats and dogs than previously known. (As reported in an Oregon State University press release)
"We worry a lot about zoonoses, the transmission of diseases from animals to people," Christiane Loehr, an associate professor in the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine, said in the release. "But most people don't realize that humans can also pass diseases to animals, and this raises questions and concerns about mutations, new viral forms and evolving diseases that may potentially be zoonotic. And, of course, there is concern about the health of the animals."
Adjective:(of a disease) Prevalent over a whole country or the world.
Noun:An outbreak of such a disease.
Transmission-1.The action or process of transmitting something or the state of being transmitted: "the transmission of the HIV virus".
Mutations-The changing of...