Oregon State Public Health Veterinarian Emilio Bess confirmed Nov. 10 that a trio of ferrets -- part of a group of nine potentially infected pet ferrets owned by the same family -- were infected.
Another one of the family's ferrets was found to have H1N1 in early October, according to the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association.
Family members likely infected the ferrets as the human patients exhibited flu-like symptoms a week before the ferrets did. The infected ferrets are recovering.
Veterinarians should urge pet owners to cover their coughs and sneezes and thoroughly wash their hands when handling sick pets or when they're sick, Bess says. Owners of ferrets and cats -- species infected by pet owners so far -- should watch for coughing, sneezing, and yellow or green discharge from animals' nose and eyes, and take affected animals to their veterinarian.