Dog Flu: The Next Pandemic?

Dog Flu: The Next Pandemic?

Researchers have found that dogs might serve as potential intermediate hosts for animal influenza viruses’ adaptation to humans.

The virus has firmly established itself in canines, evolving into a fully-fledged mammalian form of avian influenza.

Although the virus does not pose particularly worrying health threats to dogs, experts fear that it could infect humans and cause a pandemic.

H3N2 viruses may have increased their adaptability to humans during their evolution in dogs.

Human populations lack immunity to the H3N2 canine influenza virus, and even pre-existing immunity derived from present human seasonal influenza viruses cannot provide protection against it.

Should the virus spill over into humans, it could be virtually impossible to contain, making surveillance and awareness crucial.

Experts suggest that we should not be overreacting just yet, as the case for a ‘threat’ is not clear.

Influenza reference centres should be aware of the dog-adapted sequences so that any human cases can be reported quickly.

While there has been no evidence of human cases of dog flu so far, the high number of mutations found in the virus warrants attention and highlights the importance of being vigilant and prepared.