- More Ferrets Diagnosed With Pandemic Influenza H1N1
- A total of 3 more ferrets in Oregon have tested positive
for the 2009 pandemic influenza H1N1 virus, state officials confirmed this
afternoon [11 Nov 2009], bringing the total number of cases affecting ferrets
in the state to 4.
- Dr. Emilio DeBess, the Oregon state public health veterinarian,
says the ferrets that tested positive for the H1N1 virus are among a group
of 9 ferrets that live with a family in the Roseburg, Oregon, area. All
9 ferrets, DeBess said, exhibited flu-like symptoms, but only 3 were taken
to the veterinarian. Those 3 tested positive.
- DeBess says members of the family that owns the ferrets
were sick with flu-like signs the week prior to the animals becoming ill.
He adds that there are no indications that the ferrets passed the virus
on to people or any other species of animal.
- The 1st ferret in Oregon confirmed with the 2009 pandemic
influenza H1N1 virus was diagnosed in early October. All of the sick ferrets
- DeBess reminds pet owners that they should contact their
veterinarian if their pets show any signs of illness, and that they should
take precautions to help reduce the spread of influenza between themselves
and their pets.
- "The key message is to protect your animals much
like you protect your family," he says. "Wash your hands, cover
your cough and your sneeze, and do your best to prevent contaminating objects
your pet may come into contact with."
- The AVMA is monitoring reports of pandemic influenza
H1N1 in animals and posting updates to its Web site at http://www.avma.org/public_health/influenza/new_virus.
- The Oregon Veterinary Medical Association is also providing
information at http://oregonvma.org/news/h1n1.
- The AVMA and its more than 78 000 member veterinarians
are engaged in wide variety of activities dedicated to advancing the science
and art of animal, human and public health. Visit the AVMA Web site at
<http://www.avma.org to learn more about veterinary medicine and animal
- -- Communicated by ProMED-mail email@example.com
- Source: Oregon VMA http://oregonvma.org/news/h1n1
- New Cases of H1N1 in Oregon Ferrets
- In late October 2009, a client presented 3 of 9 owned
ferrets who had become ill with an influenza-like illness to a veterinarian
in the Roseburg area. The family had human patients with influenza-like
illness about a week prior to onset of illness in the ferrets.
- Two of the 3 ferrets presented with fevers (temperature
above 103 F), sneezing, coughing and had nasal discharge. Not all ferrets
became ill at the same time, but 2 - 3 days after the initial 2 cases.
Nasal discharge samples were collected on 27 Oct 2009 and were later reported
as positive for Influenza A.
- Further testing at the National Veterinary Diagnostic
Laboratory confirmed the isolates as pandemic influenza H1N1. The other
ferrets were not tested, but it is believed they may have had the virus
as well. All 9 ferrets have recovered.
- The 1st documented case of the H1N1 virus in a ferret
was in a Portland, Oregon, ferret in early October . On 5 Oct 2009,
a client brought a ferret to a Portland, Oregon, veterinary hospital. The
ferret had been exhibiting weakness followed by sneezing, coughing, and
an elevated temperature.
- Because the client and her children previously had symptoms
compatible with influenza, the attending veterinarian consulted with Dr.
Emilio DeBess, Oregon State Public Health Veterinarian, and both agreed
to test the ferret's nasal secretions for influenza.
- On 8 Oct 2009, Oregon State University's Veterinary Diagnostic
Laboratory presumptively diagnosed pandemic influenza H1N1 by PCR from
the nasal secretions of the ferret. On 9 Oct 2009, pandemic influenza H1N1
was confirmed at the National Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.
- Contrary to published media reports, which stated that
this Oregon ferret had died, it has, in fact, recovered. Other ferrets
in the US have now also tested positive for the H1N1 virus. One ferret
in Nebraska died.
- Pet owners should be cautious as we enter this year's
flu season. Ferrets are generally susceptible to influenza A viruses <http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/viruses/>http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/viruses/
under which H1N1 is classified.
- In these cases, it is believed that the human owners
transmitted the virus to their ferrets.
- Dr. Emilio DeBess, Oregon State Public Health Veterinarian,
cautions owners and veterinarians that it may be possible for ferrets or
cats to transmit this virus to humans. Coughing and sneezing can spread
the virus which can remain infectious for about a week outside the body.
Thoroughly wash your hands when handling sick pets or when you are sick.
- Clinical Signs
- If your ferret starts to exhibit signs of a respiratory
illness or lethargy, the animal should be examined by your veterinarian
- Because of the immunosuppressive effects of influenza,
bacterial infection may be of concern. If discharge from the nose or eyes
becomes discolored (yellow or green), or if your ferret is coughing, contact
- Once a diagnosis is made, your veterinarian may be able
to suggest medications to make the ferret more comfortable. You must also
ensure that your ferret remains hydrated. If your ferret is very lethargic
or off food and water (monitor closely), treatment with fluids and/or force
feeding may be necessary.
- -- Communicated by ProMED-mail <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>email@example.com
- According to: http://www.currentprotocols.com/protocol/mc15g02:
- "A major challenge in influenza research is the
selection of an appropriate animal model that accurately reflects the disease
and protective immune response to influenza infection in humans. Ferrets
are exquisitely susceptible to infection with human influenza viruses and
are widely believed to be the ideal small animal model for influenza research.
Mice have also been used for influenza vaccine research for decades. Ferrets
are used as an animal model for the study of influenza because they are
susceptible to human influenza viruses and develop some of the symptoms
of influenza that are seen in humans."
- And apparently, ferrets are the human model for influenza.
With that being the case, it is startling that many veterinary organizations
seemed mildly surprised to find that ferrets can become infected with H1N1.
Certainly the more we look and test the more likely we are to find a number
of our companion animals are susceptible to a variety of human respiratory
viruses. Perhaps a question of concern is will this virus mutate as it
finds other hosts? Will there be any reassortment while in different hosts?
- Patricia A. Doyle DVM, PhD Bus Admin, Tropical Agricultural
Economics Univ of West Indies Please visit my "Emerging Diseases"
message board at: http://www.emergingdisease.org/phpbb/index.php Also
my new website: http://drpdoyle.tripod.com/ Zhan le Devlesa tai
sastimasa Go with God and in Good Health