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Flu Spread to Dogs - U.S. 2018

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    Posted: January 11 2018 at 5:44pm
Dog flu is now widespread in the U.S. and apparently the same strains that are prevalent in people. It appears the virus has mutated and jumped the species barrier from humans to dogs.

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https://oregonstate.edu/ua/ncs/archives/2012/oct/onset-flu-season-raises-concerns-about-human-pet-transmission

CORVALLIS, Ore. – As flu season approaches, people who get sick may not realize they can pass the flu not only to other humans, but possibly to other animals, including pets such as cats, dogs and ferrets.

comment: This has been emphatically denied by most vets for decades. New studies also show that Norovirus may spread from humans as well. According to the article -

This concept, called “reverse zoonosis,” is still poorly understood but has raised concern among some scientists and veterinarians, who want to raise awareness and prevent further flu transmission to pets. About 80-100 million households in the United States have a cat or dog.

It’s well known that new strains of influenza can evolve from animal populations such as pigs and birds and ultimately move into human populations, including the most recent influenza pandemic strain, H1N1. It’s less appreciated, experts say, that humans appear to have passed the H1N1 flu to cats and other animals, some of which have died of respiratory illness.

There are only a handful of known cases of this phenomenon and the public health implications of reverse zoonosis of flu remain to be determined. But as a concern for veterinarians, it has raised troubling questions and so far, few answers.

Veterinary researchers at Oregon State University and Iowa State University are working to find more cases of this type of disease transmission and better understand any risks they pose to people and pets.

“We worry a lot about zoonoses, the transmission of diseases from animals to people,” said Christiane Loehr, an associate professor in the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine. “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.”

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https://www.cdc.gov/flu/canineflu/keyfacts.htm

However, influenza viruses are constantly changing and it is possible for a virus to change so that it could infect humans and spread easily between humans. Human infections with new influenza viruses (against which the human population has little immunity) are concerning when they occur. Such viruses could present pandemic influenza threats. For this reason, CDC and its partners are monitoring the canine influenza H3N8 and H3N2 viruses (as well as other animal influenza viruses) closely. In general, canine influenza viruses are considered to pose a low threat to humans.

The H3N2 canine influenza virus is an avian flu virus that adapted to infect dogs. Although H3N2 viruses have been reported to infect cats, dog flu is a disease of dogs. This virus is different from human seasonal H3N2 viruses. Canine influenza A H3N2 virus was first detected in dogs in South Korea in 2007and has since been reported in China and Thailand. H3N2 canine influenza has reportedly infected some cats as well as dogs. It was first detected in the United States in April 2015. It is not known how canine H3N2 virus was introduced into the United States.

Even worse, nearly three-quarters of the 1,544 laboratory-confirmed cases of flu seen in the U.S. since Oct. 1 were of the H3N2 variety, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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