Researchers in South Korea are looking into the possibility of a deadly virus that has attacked dogs in the past and the probability of its transfer to humans. If this happens, a health pandemic might occur, scientists warn.
There are types of animal flu virus that could mutate and transfer to humans, according to a recent study. The human body will consider these as different strains of flu so they could spread quickly and uncontrollably.
Dr. Daesub Song, a researcher from South Korea’s Korea University, said that dogs were not usually considered in flu researches. However, lately, there were reports of interspecies transmission of viruses. The research team has monitored some dogs to have acquired swine or bird flu virus. The virus mutated into a novel strain of canine influenza labeled as CIVmv by researchers.
The strain was found to be highly contagious to ferrets once transmitted by a dog. The virus attacks a part of a cell in a ferret that has a similarity to a human cell. This means that the pathogen has the potential to affect people severely.
Previously, an outbreak of canine flu in an animal shelter killed 40% of cats, based on a study. This proves how deadly canine flu can be.
There were also cases of epidemics among pet animals that affected hundreds of household animals in certain areas. One such example was the spread of the highly-contagious parvovirus that killed many pet animals in the areas of Hertfordshire, North Yorkshire, Staffordshire, Walsall and Loughborough in England.
Animals experienced fever, diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite and energy, and rapid loss of weight. Dogs had to be treated within 48 hours once they displayed the symptoms, or the case could turn more serious.
Dr. Song said that there is also be a possibility that the canine flu virus can recombine with the human flu virus and create a new strain. The effect could lead to an exceptional flu breakout that nobody anticipates. The scientist strongly recommends strengthening the surveillance of flu viruses from companion animals particularly dogs.
Dr. Song’s research is expected to be presented at the Microbiology Society Annual Conference in Belfast, the UK in April 2019.
Please watch the video below on canine flu.
Source: National Geographic via Youtube