Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Three More Ferrets Diagnosed With Pandemic Influenza H1N1

/PRNewswire/ -- Three more ferrets in Oregon have tested positive for the 2009 pandemic influenza H1N1 virus, state officials confirmed this afternoon, bringing the total number of cases affecting ferrets in the state to four.

Dr. Emilio DeBess, the Oregon state public health veterinarian, says the ferrets that tested positive for the H1N1 virus are among a group of nine ferrets that live with a family in the Roseburg, Ore., area. All nine ferrets, DeBess said, exhibited flu-like symptoms, but only three were taken to the veterinarian. Those three tested positive.

DeBess says members of the family that owns the ferrets were sick with flu-like symptoms the week prior to the animals becoming ill. He adds that there are no indications that the ferrets passed the virus on to people or any other species of animal.

The first ferret in Oregon confirmed with the 2009 pandemic influenza H1N1 virus was diagnosed in early October. All of the sick ferrets have recovered.

DeBess reminds pet owners that they should contact their veterinarian if their pets show any signs of illness, and that they should take precautions to help reduce the spread of influenza between themselves and their pets.

"The key message is to protect your animals much like you protect your family," he says. "Wash your hands, cover your cough and your sneeze, and do your best to prevent contaminating objects your pet may come into contact with."

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