Pets Are Now Being Infected
With the H1N1 Swine Flu Virus
Vets in the US state of Iowa said Wednesday that a household
cat had tested positive for swine flu the first known case
in the world of the new pandemic strain spreading to the feline
The domestic shorthair, a 13-year-old castrated male, apparently
caught A(H1N1) off its owners two of the three members
of the family had previously contracted the deadly virus.
This is the first cat that we are aware of with the pandemic
H1N1, said Brett Sponseller, an assistant professor of veterinarian
microbiology who helped treat the pet at Iowa State Universitys
College of Veterinary Medicine.
After ruling out most common causes of respiratory diseases,
a team of university and state vets looked at the family history
of the owners and guessed swine flu might be the cause.
After five days of tests, their fears were confirmed.
This was a big deal and everyone involved understood that,
said Sponseller, adding that the owners had since recovered and
that the cat had been given extra fluids and antibiotics and was
doing very well.
Cats have previously been diagnosed with H5N1, a virus commonly
known as bird flu that spread from poultry to humans, but this
is thought to be a first for swine flu and has possible implications
for the feared pandemic.
Sponseller said the danger of an infected cat spreading the A(H1N1)
virus to humans or to other cats was unknown but didnt appear
to be high.
The prevalence of the disease in the cat population was also
unknown, but the vet said he believed more cats will now be tested
and confirmed to have the virus.
The cat owner, an employee at the Iowa vet school, insisted on
anonymity and is not revealing the pets name, Sponseller
Indoor pets that live in close proximity to someone who
has been sick are at risk, said Iowa state veterinarian
It is wise to monitor their health to ensure they arent
showing signs of illness, he said in a statement.
The Iowa Department of Public Health also reminded the public
that people who are sick with H1N1 can spread the virus not only
to humans, but also to some animals.
The number of human swine flu deaths spiked by 700 in a week,
the World Health Organization said Friday.
More than 5,700 people have died worldwide since the virus was
first discovered in April, with most of the deaths 4,175
in the Americas region, it said.
More than 5,700 people have now died from the A(H1N1) since it
broke out in April in Mexico and the United States in April, the
Swine flu vaccine shortfalls have seen long lines forming outside
health clinics in the US, with many people being turned away or
going home without getting their swine flu shot as supplies ran
Editor's note: Inter-species
transmission of this virus corroborates evidence of man-made experimentation
since any configuration of the seasonal influenza strain is incapable
of infecting animals.
full list of h1n1 vaccine ingredients, alerts and warnings.
Reference Sources AFP
November 5, 2009