Friday, September 23, 2005

The new dog flu virus

Avian flu is threatening parts of Asia and may become the next pandemic -- I've previously posted on both the WHO warning and the outbreak in Indonesia.

And now a deadly new canine flu has turned up in the U.S.:

A new, highly contagious and sometimes deadly canine flu is spreading in kennels and at dog tracks around the country, veterinarians said yesterday.

The virus, which scientists say mutated from an influenza strain that affects horses, has killed racing greyhounds in seven states and has been found in shelters and pet shops in many places, including the New York suburbs, though the extent of its spread is unknown...

How many dogs die from the virus is unclear, but scientists said the fatality rate is more than 1 percent and could be as high as 10 percent among puppies and older dogs...

The virus is an H3N8 flu closely related to an equine flu strain. It is not related to typical human flus or to the H5N1 avian flu that has killed about 100 people in Asia.

Experts said there were no known cases of the canine flu infecting humans.

Not good for our canine friends. Let's hope the virus can be stopped or at least contained.

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