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Ferret Dies of H1N1 Swine Flu in Nebraska,
From Patricia Doyle, PhD
Hello Jeff - I think we are on the brink of a very different outbreak. The virus is widening its host range, and is transmitting a tamiflu resistant strain H2H in the US.
Date: 1 Nov 2009 Source: About.com: veterinary medicine [edited]
A news station in Hastings, Nebraska (KHAS) has reported that "Stormy," a ferret and one of 4 ferrets belonging to a family of humans sick with the flu, has died from the H1N1 virus.
According to the news report, testing was done by the University of Nebraska Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, where the ferret tested positive for H1N1. The state public health veterinarian said the event is not unexpected but that it is rare. Only 2 ferrets in the nation have died from H1N1, including Stormy.
A 2nd sample has been sent to a national laboratory for confirmation of H1N1 infection [Likely that national laboratory is the National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa.].
Ferrets have respiratory systems similar to humans and are known to be susceptible to human flu viruses. Infectious disease specialists do not think dogs and cats are at risk for H1N1 infection, and there have been no reports of dogs or cats with H1N1 infection at this writing. Pet birds may be at risk, since the H1N1 jumped to turkeys last summer [2009]. Caution is also advised for pet pigs.
Proper hygiene and sanitation (washing hands, bowls, tools and clothing) and isolating sick individuals are the best defenses against flu viruses.
It should be noted that dogs and cats have their own flu viruses, notably the H3N8 flu virus in dogs currently in the news.
Communicated by ProMED-mail Rapporteur Mary Marshall
Ferrets have many of the same clinical signs as humans with flu: fever, lethargy, weakness, coughing and sneezing. Ferret owners need to be particularly careful with coughing or sneezing in the direction of the pet, as it may pass the flu to it.
Readers are encouraged to view the moderator's remarks in ProMED-mail post 20091021.3618. - Mod.TG
Photo of pet ferret: http://www.seavs.com/DANYAFERRET.jpg - Mod.JW 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 
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