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Pet dog’s death confirms reemergence of deadly virus in humans, say health officials


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A Canadian pet dog has died after testing positive for bird flu, health officials said, raising fears that the deadly virus is one step closer to infecting humans again.

An Ontario dog, whose breed and age were not mentioned, became infected after eating an infected dead wild goose, developed symptoms and died.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said an autopsy on the animal showed that its respiratory system had been affected. “This is the only case of its kind in Canada,” the agency said in a statement.

The agency indicated that the dog developed “clinical signs” of avian flu, but did not explain what those signs were. The test showed that he was positive for the H5N1 strain.

However, the agency assured that the risks to the general public “remain low”, stating: “Based on current data in Canada, the risk to the general public remains low and current scientific evidence indicates that the risk of human exposure to avian influenza from domestic few pets.”

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) has previously warned dog owners to keep a close eye on their pets while walking near the coast amid the bird flu outbreak.

Professor Sir Andrew Pollard of Oxford University’s Institute of Epidemiology said he was not surprised to find the dog had contracted the virus.

“It’s not surprising that there are so many opportunities for mammals to come into contact with infected birds, but it’s still an important reminder of the risks this virus can pose to humans,” he explained.

The virus has killed millions of birds worldwide in the past two years, but it has also infected other animals, including seals, otters and porpoises.

And just last month, the virus killed two bottlenose dolphins in Devon and Pembrokeshire.

The new warnings come from experts who fear the virus could mutate, making it more dangerous to humans than it currently is.

The World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH) has warned that mammals can act as “mixing vessels” for different viruses, which could lead to a new variant that is “more harmful” to humans.

The H5N1 strain already has a human mortality rate of about 50%: over the past 20 years, 870 people have been infected with avian influenza, 457 of them have died.

It is not recommended to feed raw bird or poultry meat to pets, and not to allow pets to eat or play with dead wild birds outside.

Instead, the agency added, those concerned about the health of their pets should contact their veterinarian.

Scientists have urged the government to develop a new bird flu vaccine before the virus can spread more effectively among humans.

Health experts have shared 10 bird flu symptoms in humans to watch out for.

According to the National Health Service (NHS), the main symptoms of bird flu in humans can come on very quickly and include:

– High fever, feeling hot or chills

Pain in the muscles

– headache

Cough or shortness of breath

– Diarrhea

– fell ill

– abdominal pain

– chest pain

Bleeding from the nose and gums


Source: Sun

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