Influenza May Jump from Humans to Dogs But Not Vice Versa
It has been reported that the H1N1 Dog Influenza has mutated in Guangxi. Experts have claimed that this new virus might be a threat to human world if it becomes a pandemic. So does dog influenza passes to humans, or vice versa?
Zoonoses crossing between humans and dogs do exist. The notorious Rabies is one of them. Zoonotic viruses spread mainly by droplets made when the carrier cough, sneeze or talk. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced the most common diseases associated with dogs that can cause human illness. The prevention measures are simple. Regular hand washing, household cleaning and body-checkup for your dog are basic stuff. The list does not include dog influenza, which implies that it is not one of the known zoonoses.
The only dog flu viruses known so far are H3N8 and H3N2. H3N8 virus originally spread exclusively among equines until 2004 when a racing dog was found carrying the virus. Its mutated strain was identified in 2005. H3N2 virus originated from aves and jumped to canines later. It was first discovered in 2007 in South Korea and subsequently spread to China, Thailand and Canada. In April 2015, the virus was confirmed to have spread to the USA.
CDC emphasized that H3N2 dog flu is no way related to H3N2 human flu. Dog flu barely causes minimal impact to human health. No case of dog flu transmission crossing to a human has ever been reported. That being said, influenza viruses have the potential to mutate and target humans. World Health Organization (WHO) always has their eyes on dog flu to prevent any unlikely outbreak among us.
Dog flu does not threaten humans, period. How about the other way around? Does human flu infect dogs when we kiss and hug?
Although CDC is positive that viruses do not spread between a human and a canine, a domestic cat and dog was infected by the then rampaging H1N1 swine flu. Researchers concluded that their owner was the only infectious agent. Finland has seen the case of a canine suffering viral gastroenteritis gained from its owner as well.
Many vets and virologist may conclude that cases of dogs gaining influenza from their owners are rare, but possible.