Influenza A viruses (IAV) are zoonotic pathogens that can cause significant illness in wild and domestic animals, and humans. IAV can infect a broad range of avian and mammalian species, depending on subtype, and avian IAV can be moved over relatively long distances by migratory birds. Although spillover infections from wildlife or domestic animals to humans are an important part of the transmission cycle that can drive outbreaks, the relevance of companion animals, specifically dogs and cats, is not fully understood. A novel pandemic H1N1 reassortant (H1N1pdm09) emerged from swine in 2009, infecting humans, and wild and domestic animals worldwide. During a 2016 human influenza outbreak in Kyiv, subtype H1N1pdm09 predominated and was associated with severe disease and deaths; however, H3N2 and influenza B viruses were also detected. No case of avian influenza in humans was detected. To investigate potential involvement of companion animals, animals in a veterinary hospital (116 cats and 88 dogs) were randomly selected, and sera were tested using a commercially available IAV nucleoprotein enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Twelve of 203 serum samples were positive for influenza antibodies (5.7% of dogs and 6.08% cats). These are the first data to demonstrate influenza A infection of pets in Ukraine, highlighting the potential risk of infection of companion animals from close contact with humans.
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