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Q226R In Fatal H1N1 Infection of Oregon Cat
Recombinomics Commentary 12:49
January 20, 2010

The cat, a 10-year-old male, was brought to the Animal Clinic in Lebanon on Nov. 4 with labored breathing. A family member had been sick with a flulike illness about a week earlier.
The cat's condition worsened and, three days later, it died.

The above comments describe the first reported fatal infection of a cat with H1N1.  The HA and NA sequences form A/cat/Oregon/29573/2009 were released by the National Veterinary Services in Ames, IA.  The sequences contain the receptor binding domain change Q226R.  Although this change was present as a mix in isolates last spring, including the vaccine target California/7, it is being reported more frequently.  Moreover, H5N1 has a Q at position 226, which is thought to generate at alpha 2,3 specificity, which may be associated with the ability to replicate is a subset of lung cells.  Differences in outcomes between the child and cat in the above household may be linked to receptor differences between humans and cats.

Additional reports have described at least two more fatal infections of H1N1 in cats and several additional non-fatal infections. The first sequence released, from a cat in Iowa, did not have the receptor binding domain change.

Release of addition H1N1 sequences from cats would be useful.

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