Bird flu spreads among dogs
A study has shown a bird flu strain that has killed
dogs can spread from one dog to another, showing that the disease is capable of
crossing species and causing sickness in mammals.
Dozens of dogs in South Korea have been sickened by the H3N2 strain of the
bird flu virus, stated researchers in Emerging Infectious Diseases journal. The
virus taken from the infected dogs were analysed to see if pathogens were
capable of spreading from dog to dog.
According to Bloomberg, these findings add to scientific understanding of
how flu viruses evolve in animals and the risks they pose to humans.
Many scientists and researchers in the field fear that the highly
pathogenic H5N1 bird flu virus could spread, like the H3N2 virus in this
"Transmission of avian influenza A virus to a new mammalian species is of
great concern because it potentially allows the virus to adapt to a new
mammalian host, cross new species barriers, and acquire pandemic potential," the
Korean researchers* said.
The N3N2 virus found in the dogs closely closely resembled those found in
chickens and doves in South Korea in 2003. It is believed that the pathogens may
have been transmitted from birds to dogs fed raw, minced meat from infected
ducks and chickens.
Dogs may be more susceptible to flu strains carried by birds because both
canines and birds share a type of virus-binding site in their respiratory
systems that is less common in humans. Also, it is said that the H3N2 virus was
excreted in nasal discharges and caused sneezing of experimentally infected
beagle puppies, the study found. The virus wasn't active in their faeces.
* This study was led by Daesub Song, Bokyu Kang and Chulseung Lee of the
Green Cross Veterinary Products Co. and Daewoong Pharmaceutical Co. at
To comment, login here
Or register to be able to comment.