Message Number: FHL14937 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Sukie Crandall
Date: 2012-03-11 18:03:36 UTC
Subject: [ferrethealth] For those who need to learn a bit more about influenza and secondary bacterial pneumonia (useful also for FHL)

Kim had some questions about influenza and about secondary bacterial pneumonia which can be useful for all, so:

Okay, you have to remember that a number of influenza strains CROSS SPECIES. Heck, a number of them cross taxonomic Classes (which is why ferrets and people so often have flus that originated in birds) and Orders (which is why the swine origin is a problem). In fact, influenzas certainly can mutate in us (or in other hosts like birds, pigs, ferrets, etc) and can genetically recombine with other influenzas if a being has more than one flu at the same time -- becoming different than they first were. People and ferrets get ones that have crossed species lines because influenza mutates quite readily (though some types of influenza mutate more readily than others). So, do NOT be led astray thinking that pork has to be in the feed for them to have contracted a flu which originated in pork, nor vice versa. Neither an avian flu origin nor a swine flu origin will prevent those influenzas from infecting each other, nor from infecting ferrets, mink (which are rather closely related to ferrets), or humans. Heck, most of the influenzas people get are avian ones originally, and ferrets are used to study both swine flu strains and bird flu strains because they do get them easily.

Again, to learn more about strains of influenza in ferrets this is great overview paper though it is not written in the most friendly fashion for a casual reader:

The discussion is happening because of a large number of mink (again, very closely related to ferrets) which are thought to have gotten influenza due to the raw turkey which was fed per

and Meryl already sent the information on the temperature to reach to kill influenza in poultry; here is the very useful info that Meryl provided:
> Re raw versus cooked. This quote from the first concerns about bird
> flu in 2006 "Preparing for the arrival of bird flu, the government on
> Wednesday gave advice for making chicken safe to eat: Cook it to 165
> degrees F." For getting rid of E. coli in a chicken you cook it to 160
> degrees F.

Researchers would NOT just assume that the source had influenza but would have known that the source had to shutter or sacrifice for a while due to it. That situation is NOT particularly uncommon! An abstract is just an abstract so it will NOT have all of the info that is in the paper, just a useful summation. *****It would be good to get the full paper ***** to learn more on this because what I am wondering is if the turkeys were sold before the infection was spotted (which does happen), or if the infection had been spotted and people on both sides were foolish enough to sell and buy infected poultry into the mink farm food stream. Once this sort of infection is spotted it is illegal in many nations to sell those birds into the human food stream, BUT some always manage to get into the human foodstream because at first the infection is not spotted (which is why I was wondering if there is any seasonality to such infections in birds since then people could cook the poultry during those seasons). It must not be assumed that any possible seasonality for birds is the same as for humans. (See one of my earlier posts for the symptoms in birds once those show.)

Also, I am wondering how many silent days before symptoms that birds have (because most viruses including influenzas have silent days before symptoms the disease can be transmitted before infection is spotted in the birds.)

I'll try to set the time aside to learn more but can not promise to get the time with family needs, and if (and this is huge "if") I get time I will try to summarize some of the ways that specific influenzas differ in ferrets per one of the links included today.

Oh, an important thing to know: the influenza shot is no supposed to cause any days when a person can transmit influenza but the NASAL vaccine CAN.

For another of Kim's questions: influenza is transmitted by respiratory droplets and also by eating infected tissue or tissue that has been cross-contaminated.

Re: E. coli (another of Kim's questions): There are several ways that poultry can wind up with E. coli.
One is contaminated water.
Another is contaminated feed, and there are many more like this:

Plus almost everyone except newbies here will know that there have been multiple past posts with links to studies about E. coli (often fatal, and often causing permanent kidney damage) in ferrets in past FMLs and FHL so can check archives and Pub Med:

Finally, there is a pre-slaughter feeding question about the crops. Many people know that beef are feed animal tissues before slaughter to fatten them up. Some of the major poultry farms feed poultry a fattening up diet in their final weeks and beef scraps from slaughter houses have been used in the past. I do NOT know if that has been changed since a study that was done for chickens as a possible vector of prion diseases. (Yes, ferrets and minks get those, too, in fact, there is one named for mink.) A study I found many years ago noted that the prion disease lasted longer in chicken crops than the pre-slaughter fatten up time lasted, BUT that the birds themselves did not contract prion disease from the feed, so the important thing was to make sure that there was not contamination from the crops and that the crops were not eaten. (Those who are not familiar with digestion in birds can look up crops in birds to read about that anatomic structure.) The birds themselves did not contract prion disease that way, BTW, just sort of held it for a while. There is sure to be more learned on that since then and maybe some farm practices changed.

Anyway, influenza is not going to be transmitted from moldy straw nor from bird droppings left on straw. It actually dies very rapidly outside the body, and I'd have to check but I don't think that it even survives the bird digestive tract. (Some other diseases can use that route.)

It is also important to note that the lung injury and lung inflammation which influenza cause set the stage for secondary pneumonia such as bacterial forms of pneumonia (focal and non-focal) including those with hemorrhagic E. coli bacteria.

So, you had some interesting questions, Kim, but most can be covered just by learning about influenza and about vulnerability to bacterial infections secondary to influenza so resources such as these will help you and others and there will be more resources but I lack time to look them up for you:

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