WASHINGTON-People who think they may have H1N1 flu need to stay away from work, avoid sneezing on their spouses and children and now, they have someone else to worry about infecting too -- their pets.
U.S. vets reported this week that a pet cat had been infected with the pandemic swine flu virus, apparently by its owners, who had reported flu-like illness in the days before.Two pet ferrets also caught flu, again apparently from their owners, and several herds of pigs around the world have been reported infected.Animals have long been known to be a source of new infections. Influenza itself originates in birds, possibly domestic ducks. AIDS appears to have come from chimpanzees and possibly gorillas. Ebola virus comes from bats while rabies is spread by many different species.And this strain of H1N1 very likely originated in pigs although it is now infecting almost exclusively humans.
But with flu, at least, it can go the other way, too...