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IDEXX Launches Canine Influenza Test Targeting H3N2 in Response to Outbreak

IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. announced that the company has developed, validated and made available a new test for the detection of H3N2 canine influenza virus. An avian-origin H3N2 strain identified in Asia around 2006 was determined to be the cause of a recent widespread canine influenza outbreak in the Chicago area. This highly contagious strain had previously been reported only in Asia but is now spreading among the dog population in the U.S. The IDEXX RealPCR Laboratory recently confirmed cases in the following states: Alabama, California, Texas, New York, Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin and Indiana, in addition to the outbreak in the Chicago area.

As soon as the H3N2 strain was reported in the U.S., IDEXX invested in research and development and in less than four weeks produced and validated a test to detect the H3N2 strain. The new H3N2 Influenza Virus RealPCR Test allows rapid, reliable and specific testing for the strain responsible for the outbreak. IDEXX has added the H3N2 Influenza Virus RealPCR Test to existing IDEXX Comprehensive Canine Respiratory Disease (CRD) RealPCR panels at no additional cost to customers. The H3N2 test is also available as a stand-alone test.

"The rapid development of the H3N2 Influenza Virus RealPCR Test underscores our industry-leading investment in pet health innovation and demonstrates that diagnostics are central to pet health care and veterinary medicine," said Jonathan W. Ayers, president and chief executive officer of IDEXX Laboratories. "The test will dramatically increase the speed and accuracy of H3N2 influenza diagnosis in the United States. We're adding it to all Comprehensive Canine Respiratory Disease (CRD) RealPCR panels offered by IDEXX Reference Laboratories in order to help contain this highly contagious disease and as part of our commitment to helping pets live long, happy lives."

H3N2 influenza causes cough, fever, lack of appetite, weight loss and interstitial pneumonia and can be fatal. The signs of this illness in dogs are cough, runny nose and fever; however, some dogs are asymptomatic. Canine influenza also can impact cats.

"In response to the H3N2 outbreak, our team of infectious disease specialists mobilized, developed and validated a new test in less than one month, specifically for identifying H3N2," said Christian Leutenegger, DrVetMed, PhD, FHV, head of PCR molecular diagnostics at IDEXX Reference Laboratories. "We have developed an accurate diagnostic for this canine influenza strain to ensure that veterinary practices across the country are equipped with the tools they need to provide the best possible care to their patients and to help contain this outbreak and keep it from spreading further in the United States."

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