DES MOINES, Iowa, Nov. 4 (UPI) — A cat in Iowa has become the first feline known to be diagnosed with H1N1, The American Veterinary Medical Association said Wednesday.
The 13-year-old cat tested positive for the H1N1 virus at the Lloyd Veterinary Medical Center at Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, the state health department said. The cat, which has recovered, is believed to have contracted it from people in the house where it lives.
“Two of the three members of the family that owns the pet had suffered from influenza-like illness before the cat became ill,” Dr. Ann Garvey, the state’s public health veterinarian, said. “This is not completely unexpected, as other strains of influenza have been found in cats in the past.”
The department would not say where the family lives.
Experts say people can help keep pets healthy by washing hands, covering coughs and sneezes and staying away from the pets while ill with flu-like symptoms. If your pet shows signs of respiratory illness, you should contact your veterinarian.
Polly Carver-Kimm, a health department spokeswoman, told The Des Moines Register it is not likely a person would get H1N1 from a pet.
“Animal-to-human transmission is very rare,” she said. “It’s much more likely for an animal to catch it from a human.”
H1N1 has also been found in pigs, birds and ferrets.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International