H1N1 influenza has been confirmed in a cat in Iowa. The cat had "influenza-like illness" and was tested, with H1N1 being confirmed today. Two of three people in the house were also sick, but they became ill before the cat, and were presumably the source of infection for the cat. There’s no evidence that the cat has infected anyone.

This doesn’t really change anything that we’ve been recommending regarding H1N1 and pets. H1N1 infection is pets is rare but has been diagnosed in ferrets, and now in a cat. Considering the large number of infected people and the presumably large number of exposed pets, the risk of transmission to pets appears to be extremely low. Low doesn’t mean no, however, and taking basic precautions is still wise.

Basically, remember that your pets are part of the household – microbiologically as well as socially. If you are doing something to reduce the risk of transmission of infection to people in the household, act the same way around your pets. Reduce contact with pets if you are sick. Avoid being around them when you are coughing. Wash your hands frequently. Avoid contact with their faces. If your pet gets sick after you’ve had H1N1 (or any other infection) make sure your veterinarian is aware of it.

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