First H1N1 case in a cat confirmed

November 5, 2009

(ChattahBox) — A cat in Iowa has tested positive for the H1N1 virus, “marking the first time a cat has been diagnosed with this strain of influenza,” according to state officials. Officials said the 13-year-old cat started sneezing and quit eating after two people in its home contracted suspected cases of the flu. The cat was taken to Iowa State University’s veterinary college, where tests confirmed this week that it had the new flu virus. All members of the household, including the cat, recovered. H1N1 has now been documented in cats, humans, pigs, birds, and ferrets.
Many veterinarians have been saying that transmission from humans to cats and dogs or vice versa is beyond unlikely, until now. Dr. Ann Garvey, Iowa’s public health veterinarian, said it’s still unlikely that a person could catch the flu from a pet. She also said officials don’t expect to see many cases of pets becoming ill with the new flu. But she said pet owners who suspect they have the disease should wash their hands often and minimize contact with their animals until 24 hours after the illness subsides.



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