The death toll of H1N1-infected domestic cats continues to rise and now officials at Safari West Wildlife Preserve in Santa
Rosa, Calif., have announced that a cheetah caught the pandemic virus last month.
Gijima, an 8-year-old cheetah at Safari West, was coughing and showed signs of lethargy and lack of appetite in mid-November.
The zoo's director had recently seen a story in a national newspaper about a domestic cat catching H1N1 and ordered testing
for Gijima. The cheetah's test was positive, but it completely recovered in the following weeks. Three other cheetahs at the
facility were ill, but only the one case was confirmed to be H1N1, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums responded to the incident by reminding the public that humans cannot contract H1N1 from
Zoo employees aren't sure how Gijima was infected, but believe an animal handler was the original source of infection. They
continue their standard practices of frequent hand-washing, sterilizing food bowls and tools such as rakes, and stepping in
foot baths on the way in and out of animal enclosures.
In other news, a total of three domestic cats have died as a result of complications from H1N1 influenza, and a number of
other cats have been confirmed to be infected but are being treated, according to the AVMA. Additionally, Chinese media outlets
are reporting at least two cases of H1N1 in dogs, but the AVMA says no cases in dogs have been confirmed. Several cases of
infected ferrets in the U.S. also have been confirmed.
The United States, Chile and Canada have confirmed H1N1 cases in domestic turkeys, and numerous swine herds in Europe reportedly
are dealing with H1N1 outbreaks. A few herds in the U.S. have been found to have H1N1, but no large-scale outbreaks have been
Iowa State University has been manufacturing and shipping a swine version of the H1N1 vaccination to producers, and in December
the U.S. Department of Agriculture granted the first conditional license for a swine H1N1 vaccine to Pfizer Animal Health.
The conditional license will last one year.
To stay up-to-date on news relating to H1N1, visit
http://dvm360.com/H1N1. Head to
http://dvm360.com/H1N1timeline to view a timeline of the pandemic's evolution.