Dogs Used as Watchdogs for Diseases, Including Avian Flu
InfectionControlToday.com reports that veterinary scientists at Purdue University's School of Veterinary Medicine say that a national surveillance network that uses the medical records of companion animals could help prepare for a wide variety of emerging disease threats to humans and animals, including avian influenza.
We discovered we can use analytical techniques to target specific geographic areas where vaccines need to be developed," Glickman said. "This early warning will become critical to stop the spread of avian flu virus and other diseases that might affect humans. The quicker we can identify the problem in the more than 150 million dogs, cats or pet birds that live in approximately 40 percent of all households in the United States, the greater the probability we can contain a disease before it spreads to humans.
The National Companion Animal Surveillance Program was originally designed to alert people to potential anthrax or plague outbreaks. New findings on tests of the program are detailed in the current edition of Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, a medical journal that focuses on diseases transmitted to humans by vectors such as mosquitoes or directly from animals.