A new study in the US shows that human norovirus may infect our canine companions. This raises the possibility of dog-to-human transmission
The research showed that some dogs can mount an immune response to human norovirus, which strongly suggests that these dogs have been infected with the virus. Human norovirus can bind to the cells of the canine gut, which is the first step required for infection of cells.”
It is not clear just how much of a problem canine infection and transmission may represent for humans. Despite dogs’ apparent susceptibility, the investigators failed to find norovirus in canine stool samples, including those from dogs with diarrhea. They found it in serum samples of only about one seventh of 325 dogs tested. Additionally, it is not yet known whether human norovirus can cause clinical disease in dogs. Even assuming that dogs become infected with human norovirus, it remains unknown whether they could shed the virus in quantities sufficient to infect humans—although clinical investigators have estimated that as few as 18 virus particles can cause human infection.
The authors conclude “Until more definitive data is available, sensible hygiene precautions should be taken around pets, especially when gastroenteritis in either humans or dogs is present in a household,”
The full study can be found here: http://jcm.asm.org/cgi/reprint/JCM.02778-14v1?ijkey=UzdFXaII51jUw&keytype=ref&siteid=asmjournals.