I'm posting this from the Western Veterinary Conference in Las Vegas. My column on the Web site of the San Francisco Chronicle is up, and I'm writing about the "new" strain of parvo we've seen so much furor over in the last week or so:
I contacted Melissa Kennedy, D.V.M., Ph.D., a specialist in microbiology at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine and an infectious disease and immunology consultant for the Veterinary Information Network. I asked her what the story was. Is CPV-2c a huge new risk to America's dogs, against which there's no vaccine? Is the sky falling, as everyone at my local dog park assured me?
"Relax, don't panic, don't stay home from work with your dog," she responded. "This is completely different from the emergence of CPV-2 in 1978. Then, we were seeing a truly new virus in dogs, and the population had no immunity. Thus, we saw tremendous amounts of disease and high mortality in both adults and pups. This new strain of CPV does bear monitoring, and eventual inclusion in vaccines will likely occur, but a repeat of the scenes from the late '70s and early '80s is not what we are facing. Concern and monitoring, but not fear and hysteria."
Read the whole article, including an in-depth discussion of the vaccine issue as well as some important information on how this new strain can be missed on common parvo tests in the vet's office, here.
And for those who just can't get enough, the transcript of my complete interview with Dr. Kennedy is here -- I just wish you could hear her wonderful Southern drawl!
Unrelated [from Gina]: The AP reports that FDA inspectors looked at the wrong plant in China for a recent recall:
U.S. health officials evaluated the wrong factory when assessing the safety of a Chinese-made drug ingredient that may be a source of problems with a blood thinner, the Food and Drug Administration said Monday.
Baxter International's heparin has been linked to four deaths and hundreds of reports of allergic reactions. An investigation will take FDA inspectors to China this week.
The Chinese manufacturer was not inspected because it was confused with another company in the agency's database with a similar name, said Joseph Famulare, deputy director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research's compliance department. The FDA evaluated that firm, which had a history of positive inspections and was not re-inspected.
The agency discovered within the past month that the wrong factory was evaluated, Famulare said, adding that as far as the FDA knows, it is an isolated incident.
"As far as the FDA knows" ... so encouraging. Get these folks an agency makeover and enough money and additional talent to do their jobs, please. (And thanks, Pat, for the link.)