Influenza viruses infect many species of animals, and are noted for their ability to cross species lines. A type of avian influenza virus known as H3N2 jumped to dogs, causing illness in 2007 in Korea. This report describes the isolation of this same canine influenza (H3N2) from an outbreak of respiratory disease in a Korean animal shelter.
An outbreak of respiratory disease occurred in the dog and cat populations at a shelter in Korea with a significant mortality rate. An influenza virus was isolated from this outbreak, including from cats at the shelter. Genetic analysis of the virus isolate found it to be very similar to the H3N2 isolated from dogs in 2007. The investigators speculate that the virus originated from the dog population at the shelter and spread to the cats housed in the same building. This demonstrates once again the ability of influenza viruses to transmit across species lines, and indicate that cats may play a role in the epidemiology of influenza viruses. [MK]
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