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Canine Distemper in People?

Is it time to ask your veterinarian for a distemper vaccination for yourself?

Canine Distemper is a major problem in dogs. Before vaccinations were produced up to 80% of the puppies in a litter would die.

Measles vaccine has a lower mortality rate, killing two out of ten unvaccinated children.

Measles virus and distemper virus are closely related, both are morbilliviruses with similar structures causing similar signs in people and animals.

In recent years the distemper virus has spread from carnivores like dogs and raccoons...

to lions and tigers...


and now monkeys.

Humans are likely the next hosts for the distemper virus.

The distemper virus in monkeys looks eerily similar to measles in people. Here are skin lesions on one of the monkeys...

And here is a picture of measles infecting a child. Remember, the distemper virus kills 80% of puppies. Will it also kill eight out of ten children?

Should people ask their vet for two distemper shots, one for the dog and one for them?

Good news, sort of... A cross protective immunity occurs in people vaccinated for measles that reduces the mortality of distemper. Giving the infected monkeys in China a measles vaccination increased the monkey survival rate.

Make sure you are immunized for measles!

And vaccinate your pets.

Your life may depend on it.

Measles virus (MV) was considered eradicated in the western hemisphere, which has reduced compliance with measles vaccination. As a result, children will grow up without MV-specific immunity, creating a potential niche for closely related animal morbilliviruses such as canine distemper virus (CDV). Natural CDV infection causing clinical signs has never been reported in humans, but recent outbreaks in captive macaques have shown that CDV can cause disease in primates.

“The western hemisphere was declared free of measles on November 12, 2002. However, that changed when refugees coming into the Americas brought the virus back to the western hemisphere. And now we are seeing massive outbreaks here in the states, made worse by the fact people stopped being vaccinated. The measles virus is eating through an entire generation of non-vaccinates, especially in those communities with a preponderance of mothers who no longer believe the vaccine is necessary, creating a generation of young people whose immune systems are ill-prepared to deal with any morbilli infection.”

----Tiger Lady, Chapter 28----




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