Bear Flu

MISMS researchers identify the cause of sloth bear deaths at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, DC: human-to-bear transmission of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic influenza A virus. Full article.

Impacts
  • An infection of a sloth bear with the pH1N1 (2009) influenza A virus is confirmed for the first time. Human origin of infection is strongly suspected.
  • Recurring pH1N1 epidemics in humans present an ongoing threat to a wide variety of animals, including threatened species.
  • Increased awareness of the risk of reverse zoonosis in zoological settings supports enhanced biosecurity measures, including annual influenza vaccination for staff with animal contact.