Message Number: FHL8814 | New FHL Archives Search
From: "Sukie Crandall"
Date: 2009-04-30 15:52:41 UTC
Subject: [ferrethealth] Re: Swine Flu

The ferrets in whom testing is being done have
had the disease imposed upon them so it is not
yet known if they can get this one casually.

In relation to the laboratory results; in the two
first confirmed cases in the United States,
virus A/California/04/2009 and A/California/05/2009
were isolated. They show a pattern of genetic
reassortment of a virus of swine influenza from
the Americas with a swine influenza virus from
Eurasia. This particular genetic combination had
not been detected in the past. Both proved to be
resistant to amantadine and rimantadine, but sensitive
to neuraminidase inhibitors, oseltamivir and zanamivir.
Both have been cultured in MDCK cells and inoculated
in ferrets for the production of antisera. The complete
genome of the virus A/California/04/2009 has been
published and is available in the database of the
GISAID ( The viruses of other
confirmed cases in the United States correspond
to the same new strain.


(also the many, many news reports --
my tip on that score is to listen to ONLY the
medical professionals' comments because in
too many places the writers for the talking
heads have been going for sensation rather
than reliable data)

So, use the same precautions as always:
wash hands whenever you have been touching
public things touched by many hands (especially
before touching ferrets and before touching your
eyes, nose, mouth...), if you get sick then cough
or sneeze into your hand then wash, or use a
handkerchief and then wash.

(There have been some people postulating that
the lack of childhood vaccinations in Mexico may
partly explain why so many have been lost there
compared to here where the only death has been
a Mexican child visiting over the border in Texas.
Of course, the health care there is lacking for too
many, too, so alternative health care is used by
a large amount of the population and it does not
seem to be up to this challenge or might even in
some cases contribute to the risk factors.)

In NYC which has the most cases in the U.S. and
Canada it has been behaving like a standard
influenza in the infected people so far. So, if you
get fever, ache and pains, trouble breathing, etc
-- standard influenza symptoms -- take precautions
and get the same professional medical care that
you would get for another influenza, but call your
physician first and describe because some are
seeing such patients through back doors to avoid
risk of spreading it in a waiting room. (There have
been a few individuals in the U.S. and Canada who
also had intestinal symptoms but that appears to be
very uncommon with this.)

(People are unsure now if it has caused cytokine storms
and also unsure if the influenza itself may be at the root
of most of the deaths in Mexico so it is best to just be
safest and most careful. In the next half week or so many
more specimens will be tested to see if those people
had this influenza. In humans very few cases have been
below the age of 3 years or above the age of 59 years, so
part of being sicker still may be a stronger than needed
immune system response.)

A study looking at a possible derivation relationship to the
1918 influenza:


Swine flu is a respiratory disease of pigs caused
by type A influenza that regularly causes outbreaks
of influenza among the animals and can be
transmitted to humans. It is a typical zoonotic agent.

For the study, the researchers used the 1918
pandemic virus and a 1930 H1N1 influenza virus
for experimental infections in swine. The 1930
virus was chosen as a virus because it is thought
to be a descendent of the 1918 virus, Richt said.

The researchers did not find a significant difference
in effects from the 1918 and 1930 viruses in infected
pigs. This was surprising, since the 1918 virus killed
more than 20 million people and was lethal to ferrets,
mice and macaques. Another surprising finding from
the study was the rapid antibody response in the animals
infected with the 1918 virus, which is not typically
reported for the swine influenza virus.




See and link to latest citations from


NLM/NCBI Swine Flu Resources:
Newest swine influenza A (H1N1) sequences
Citations recently added to PubMed
MedlinePlus (consumer health information)
Enviro-Health Links


and the rest may well interest a number of FHL

ALL FHL members will find at least one of the
links from the green box next to that to be
worthy reading for protecting ferrets and their

Veterinary resources:

Great info explaining it and telling what you
can do:

Sukie (not a vet)

Recommended ferret health links:


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