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H3N8 Bird Flu Deaths Confirmed in Greyhounds in Massachusetts
May 26, 2005
>> But test results just back from a University of Florida lab prove what activists argued from the start: that the mystery plague is canine influenza - the same killer canine flu that has infected an estimated 10,000 dogs across the country.
The above results indicate that the racing greyhounds that were dying in the northeast were infected with the H3N8 strains of bird flu (also called equine flu). These results were consistent with earlier isolations in Texas and Florida.
Although the dogs did recover after treatment with antibiotics, this was not unexpected since bacterial infections are common secondary infections of influenza. Earlier reports also indicated that the infections from the racing dogs had spread to companion dogs. This would be cause for concern because of the close interaction between dogs and humans. Although H3N8 infections in humans have not been documented, human influenza strains such as H3N2 also have H3. H3N8 is also know to infected horse, another mammal.
The positive finding of H3N8 in the dogs in the northeast also highlights the denial by local veterinarians. Similar denials are associated with bird flu in Asia where patients with secondary infections such as bacterial meningitis in India and the Philippines are not tested for H5N1 even though the virus is known to be in adjacent countries and in wild birds which nest in both countries.