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H3N8 in Greyhounds in Northeast Cause for Concern

Recombinomics Commentary

May 14, 2005

>> ``We really don't know if this is a mutated virus from what everybody's used to,'' Giacoppo added. ``Nobody seems to know what's going on. It's a mystery disease.''

    Nevertheless, one state official sought to downplay the situation.

    ``If you don't have a greyhound, you have nothing to worry about,'' said Kent Lage, assistant commissioner of the state bureau of animal health. <<

Since H3N8 was first discovered in dogs last season, there is not much history unless H3N8 was involved in earlier outbreaks.  However, the fatality rate this season is markedly higher than previous years, so a mutation is suspected. 

The comments highlight the atypical aspects of the outbreak and certainly create causes for concern.  The fatal virus is readily transmissible, and earlier reports indicated infections had been noted in companion dogs.

Clearly more testing for H3N8 is needed in addition to sequence data on earlier and current isolates.

Official assurance in the absence of the critical sequence data is cause for concern.

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