New Strain of Canine Distemper Virus Arrives in North America

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A young dog imported from South Korea into Western Canada last fall brought along a dangerous hitchhiker: the Asia-1 strain of canine distemper virus (CDV), which had never before been reported in North America.

Scientists at Cornell’s Animal Health Diagnostic Center (AHDC) identified the virus in samples from the dog, which they suspect was part of a shipment of animals rescued from a Korean meat market by an animal welfare organization. Dogs that are already immunized against CDV likely are not at risk from the Asian strain. But if the virus comes into contact with wildlife, it may take a serious toll on wild carnivore populations.

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