• Open Access

Evidence of transmission and risk factors for influenza A virus in household dogs and their owners

Authors

  • Luis A. Ramírez-Martínez,

    1. Departamento de Microbiología e Inmunología, Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Distrito Federal, México
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  • María Contreras-Luna,

    1. Departamento de Microbiología e Inmunología, Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Distrito Federal, México
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  • Jazmín De la Luz,

    1. Departamento de Microbiología e Inmunología, Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Distrito Federal, México
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  • María E. Manjarrez,

    1. Instituto Nacional de Enfermedades Respiratorias, Tlalpan, México
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  • Dora P. Rosete,

    1. Instituto Nacional de Enfermedades Respiratorias, Tlalpan, México
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  • José F. Rivera-Benitez,

    1. Departamento de Microbiología e Inmunología, Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Distrito Federal, México
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  • Manuel Saavedra-Montañez,

    1. Departamento de Microbiología e Inmunología, Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Distrito Federal, México
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  • Humberto Ramírez-Mendoza

    Corresponding author
    1. Departamento de Microbiología e Inmunología, Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Distrito Federal, México
    • Correspondence: Dr Humberto Ramírez-Mendoza, Departamento de Microbiología e Inmunología, FMVZ-UNAM. Av. Universidad No. 3000 Copilco, Del. Coyoacán, CP 04510, Distrito Federal, México. E-mail: betosram@yahoo.es

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Abstract

Background

The possible transmission of influenza A virus between dogs and humans is important, as in Mexico City there are approximately 1·2 million dogs. We present the first evidence of influenza A virus infection in household dogs in Mexico.

Objectives

The objective of this study was to identify the presence of antibodies against influenza A virus in dogs and their owners, as well as the presence of RNA of influenza A virus in nasal exudates of dogs and, thereby, assess the possible transmission of the virus between humans and dogs.

Methods

Serum samples from household dogs and their owners were analyzed to detect the presence of antibodies against three subtypes of human influenza virus (H1N1pdm09, H1N1, and H3N2), as well as subtype H3N8 of equine influenza. We analyzed dog nasal exudates to detect influenza viral RNA. The relationship between the seropositivity of dogs and various factors (age, sex, constantly at home, and seropositivity of owners) was statistically analyzed.

Results

Seroprevalence for human influenza in dogs was 0·9% (1 of 113), and it was 4% (5 of 113) for equine influenza. In humans, seroprevalence was 22% for subtype H1N1pdm09, 20% for subtype H1N1, and 11% for subtype H3N2. No significant association (P > 0·05) was found between seropositivity and any of the assessed factors. Furthermore, no viral RNA was detected in the nasal exudate samples.

Conclusions

Results revealed seroprevalence of the influenza virus in household dogs in Mexico City. It can be assumed that dogs are currently becoming infected with different subtypes of influenza viruses.

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