Today’s report is on the continuing story in the Ukraine and domestic cats catching H1N1.  WHO has long warned that developing nations would have the most difficult time in this pandemic…mild as it might be…Developing nations don’t have the health care infrastructure to meet possible demands for basic and advanced care in the sheer numbers that are likely to ensue.  I am afraid the Ukraine is a good example of that fear manifested.


According to the Ukraine Ministry of Health (UMH) the country has now recorded more than 250 000 cases of influenza-like illness, with 235 patients requiring intensive care. As of 2 November, 70 deaths from acute respiratory illness have been reported. Regions in western Ukraine continue to show the highest rates of acute respiratory illness/influenza-like illness. The level of activity in the Kyiv area is also increasing rapidly.

A family in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, wears surgical masks in an attempt to prevent infection with the H1N1 virus. Experts say such masks are of limited value.

Laboratory testing in Ukraine has confirmed pandemic H1N1 influenza virus in samples taken from patients in two of the most affected regions. As the pandemic virus has rapidly become the dominant influenza strain worldwide, it can be assumed that the H1N1 virus causes most cases of influenza in Ukraine.  As elsewhere, WHO strongly recommends early treatment with the antiviral drugs, oseltamivir or zanamivir, for patients who meet treatment criteria, even in the absence of a positive laboratory test confirming H1N1 infection.

Two Ukrainian deputies wear protective masks during a parliament session in Kyiv.

At the request of the government, a WHO multi-disciplinary team of nine experts has been deployed. Team members will now begin field investigations to characterize the clinical and epidemiological features of the outbreak. Given the potential significance of this outbreak as an early warning signal, WHO commends the government of Ukraine for its transparent reporting and open sharing of samples.


Humans, and pigs and birds and ferrets and now domestic cats...oh my! :-)

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) have confirmed a case of H1N1 in a domestic Iowa cat. The 13-year-old indoor cat in Iowa was brought to the Lloyd Veterinary Medical Center at Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, where it tested positive for the H1N1 virus. The diagnosis is the culmination of collaborative efforts between IDPH, Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Center for Advanced Host Defenses, Immunobiotics and Translational Comparative Medicine, USDA, and IDALS Animal Industry Bureau.

“Two of the three members of the family that owns the pet had suffered from influenza-like illness before the cat became ill,” said IDPH Public Health Veterinarian, Dr. Ann Garvey. “This is not completely unexpected, as other strains of influenza have been found in cats in the past.” Both the cat and its owners have recovered from their illnesses.

People can keep their pets healthy by washing hands, covering coughs and sneezes, and minimizing contact with their pets while ill with influenza-like symptoms. If your pet exhibits signs of a respiratory illness, contact your veterinarian.

“Indoor pets that live in close proximity to someone who has been sick are at risk and it is wise to monitor their health to ensure they aren’t showing signs of illness,” said Dr. David Schmitt, State Veterinarian for Iowa.  It’s important to remember to protect family pets from the illness, as well. People who are sick with H1N1 can spread the virus not only to humans, but to some animals. Birds, pigs and ferrets and now cats have all been infected with H1N1 by sick humans.

PS – the cute kitties in the photo above are mine…Annie and Musie….  ;-)