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CHICAGO — The dog flu epidemic in the Chicago area that has sickened over 1000 dogs and is responsible for the death of at least six, is caused by a strain of the virus never seen before in North America. This means the current vaccine might not provide protection from the new virus.

Blum Animal Hospital is Lakeview was one of several to help in isolating the strain H3N2.

“They think this strain is more virulent,” said Dr. Julia Georgesen. “Meaning animals get more sick and they get sick for a longer duration of time. Also this strain can affect cats. We’ve not seen any cases of that.”