Dogs diagnosed with swine flu in China

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Two dogs in Beijing have tested positive for swine flu in the second case of animals catching the disease in China along with pigs in the northeast, Chinese media said Sunday.

The A(H1N1) virus detected in the dogs was 99 percent identical to the one circulating in humans, the state-run Beijing Times reported, quoting China's agriculture ministry.

The news comes 10 days after four pigs in China's Heilongjiang province were diagnosed with the virus, which specialists said might have been caught from humans, the report said.

Countries including the United States, Canada and Chile have already reported cases of animals being infected with the A(H1N1) virus.

A cat in the US state of Iowa was diagnosed with swine flu at the beginning of the month in the first known case in the world of the new pandemic strain spreading to the feline population.

The World Health Organisation has called for closer monitoring of farm workers and animals for influenza A viruses following the reported cases.

Citing an official at the Beijing municipal agriculture bureau, the report said the dogs probably contracted the virus from human sufferers who were in close contact with the canines.

"Dogs can infect nearby dogs after they catch A(H1N1) flu," the unidentified official was quoted as saying.

The agriculture ministry and the Beijing agriculture bureau were not immediately available for comment.