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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Shocking News About Dogs And Hepatitis C

In today's Science Section of The New York Times, there's a fascinating article on the origins of  Hepatitis C, and the continuing search for a vaccine. It's good to review what we already know: that "Hepatitis C is a distinct disease from Hepatitis A and B; it belongs to an entirely different virus family that includes diseases like West Nile fever and yellow fever... [and] scientists have searched for years for related viruses in animals to figure out how it evolved into a human disease." But what has this to do with dogs?

Well, it seems that scientists were surprised recently when they found a form of the virus in some shelter dogs who were already sick with respiratory diseases. This discovery was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and "represents a major step forward" according to a virologist  at Penn State University.
Read the full article here: www.nytimes.com/2011/05/31/health/31hepatitis.html?_r=1&ref=science.

One of the scientists quoted in the article says, "The evidence we have favors an origin in dogs." No word, at least in this article, about how this virus is transferred, if at all. At the very least, we shelter dogs, current and former, can take credit for once again helping our human companions...or at least I will!

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