I’ve been behind on posts so here’s a quick update…..things seem to be going well in the latest Canadian H3N2 canine influenza outbreak. Here’s the rundown:
- After eradicating the last outbreak in the spring, cases were identified again mid October, associated with more importation of dogs from Asia.
- The last new positive dog was identified October 30.
- All infected dogs that have been identified have had close ties to the index site and have been from one area. One of these dogs left the region but has (hopefully) been kept quarantined for 28 days.
- Most of the infected dogs that we have been able to follow serially are no longer shedding the virus.
We can’t call this over yet, since our last new case was Oct 30. Dogs can shed the virus for a few weeks after infection (including once they look healthy). Currently, we use 28 days as the potential shedding period. So, we’re looking at ~Nov 26 as the end of the window for the last known case. I tack on a week or so to give us time to find any cases that might have been infected at end of that period of infectivity. Odds are quite low at this point that there will be more transmission from this outbreak but we need a bit more time and testing to be sure. By early December, we can hopefully declare this over.
This is hopefully another example of our ability to eradicate this highly infectious virus with astute primary care veterinarians, quick testing, good communication and responsible owners who will quarantine infected animals. I’m always wary of speaking to soon (or jinxing it), but the success of this approach is important to know. It’s not often done (explaining why flu continues to spread in some regions) but with some effort, diseases like this can be contained.
At the same time, the effort required and the potential for it to spread beyond our control can’t be ignored. That’s why we need to be careful when importing dogs from areas where the virus is widespread.