On Sunday. scientists at Cornell University and the University of Wisconsin said that they have never seen this strain in North America before.
According to a Cornell University press release, it is still unknown whether the vaccine that is currently available is effective against the new virus.
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The officials also said that there is no evidence that the virus can be transmitted from dogs to humans.
Donna Alexander, the administrator of the Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control, has advised Chicago dog owners to vaccinate their pets in any event.
“The vaccine may not be completely protective against this strain,” Alexander said. “But it does impart enough of an immunity that it may protect the animal’s life. It may make the difference between it being a fatality and a severe hacking cough that the animal can withstand.”
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The outbreak has affected more than 1,000 dogs in Chicago and had been attributed to the H3N8 strain of the virus. But researchers at Cornell say that results from additional tests reveal that the outbreak results from the H3N2 virus in wide circulation in southern Chinese and South Korean dog populations.
Both strains of the virus cause high fever, loss of appetite, coughing, nasal discharge and lethargy — though symptoms may be more severe in cases caused by the H3N2 virus, Cornell officials said.
H3N2 also has caused infection and respiratory illness in cats, according to Cornell.
Source: Chicago Sun Times