Scientists study occurrence of canine influenza in China

Chinese scientists recently published the first systematic surveillance of H3N2 canine influenza virus among differing dog populations in southern China.

The study was conducted on two H3N2 CIV A virus strains Guangdong province - one collected at a dog farm in Guangzhou and the other from a dog farm in Shenzhen. Sequence and phylogenic analysis showed that the viruses were mostly similar to the newly isolated H3N2 strains found in dogs and cats in Korea and China. The strains most likely originated in birds, according to ScienceDirect.com.

The authors said that H3N2 may be becoming a common pathogen for pet and farmed dog populations in southern China and said that further in-depth study is needed because the virus poses a potential public health threat should it start causing human infections. Outbreaks continue to appear in Guangdong province, which is located in near Hong Kong, and are most frequent in areas that are densely populated and participate in the animal trade.

The study determined that the H3N2 infection rate of avian-origin canine influenza among farmed dogs is approximately 12 percent and approximately five percent among pet dogs. The data suggests that transmission occurred between the populations as a result of relatively recent close contact between infected dogs, ScienceDirect.com reports.

The authors of the study are from South China Agricultural University and Lanzhou Veterinary Research Institute. The study was published in the December issue of the journal Infection, Genetics and Evolution.