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Swine influenza (also called Pig influenza, swine flu, hog flu and pig flu) is an infection by any one of several types of swine influenza virus. Swine influenza virus (SIV) or S-OIV (swine-origin influenza virus) is any strain of the influenza family of viruses that is endemic in pigs.[2] As of 2009, the known SIV strains include influenza C and the subtypes of influenza A known as H1N1, H1N2, H3N1, H3N2, and H2N3.

Swine influenza virus is common throughout pig populations worldwide. Transmission of the virus from pigs to humans is not common and does not always lead to human influenza, often resulting only in the production of antibodies in the blood. If transmission does cause human influenza, it is called zoonotic swine flu. People with regular exposure to pigs are at increased risk of swine flu infection. The meat of an infected animal poses no risk of infection when properly cooked.

During the mid-20th century, identification of influenza subtypes became possible, allowing accurate diagnosis of transmission to humans. Since then, only 50 such transmissions have been confirmed. These strains of swine flu rarely pass from human to human. Symptoms of zoonotic swine flu in humans are similar to those of influenza and of influenza-like illness in general, namely chills, fever, sore throat, muscle pains, severe headache, coughing, weakness and general discomfort.

Classification
Of the three genera of influenza viruses that cause human flu, two also cause influenza in pigs, with influenza A being common in pigs and influenza C being rare. Influenza B has not been reported in pigs. Within influenza A and influenza C, the strains found in pigs and humans are largely distinct, although because of reassortment there have been transfers of genes among strains crossing swine, avian, and human species boundaries.

Influenza C
Influenza C viruses infect both humans and pigs, but do not infect birds. Transmission between pigs and humans have occurred in the past. For example, influenza C caused small outbreaks of a mild form of influenza amongst children in Japan and California. Because of its limited host range and the lack of genetic diversity in influenza C, this form of influenza does not cause pandemics in humans.

Influenza A
Swine influenza is known to be caused by influenza A subtypes H1N1, H1N2, H2N3, H3N1, and H3N2. In pigs, three influenza A virus subtypes (H1N1, H1N2, and H3N2) are the most common strains worldwide.[11 In the United States, the H1N1 subtype was exclusively prevalent among swine populations before 1998; however, since late August 1998, H3N2 subtypes have been isolated from pigs. As of 2004, H3N2 virus isolates in US swine and turkey stocks were triple reassortants, containing genes from human (HA, NA, and PB1), swine (NS, NP, and M), and avian (PB2 and PA) lineages.[12

Surveillance
Although there is no formal national surveillance system in the United States to determine what viruses are circulating in pigs,[13 there is an informal surveillance network in the United States that is part of a world surveillance network.

Veterinary medical pathologist, Tracey McNamara, set up a national disease surveillance system in zoos because the zoos do active disease surveillance and many of the exotic animals housed there have broad susceptibilities. Many species fall below the radar of any federal agencies (including dogs, cats, pet prairie dogs, zoo animals, and urban wildlife), even though they may be important in the early detection of human disease outbreaks.[14 [15

History
Swine influenza was first proposed to be a disease related to human influenza during the 1918 flu pandemic, when pigs became sick at the same time as humans.[16 The first identification of an influenza virus as a cause of disease in pigs occurred about ten years later, in 1930.[17 For the following 60 years, swine influenza strains were almost exclusively H1N1. Then, between 1997 and 2002, new strains of three different subtypes and five different genotypes emerged as causes of influenza among pigs in North America. In 1997–1998, H3N2 strains emerged. These strains, which include genes derived by reassortment from human, swine and avian viruses, have become a major cause of swine influenza in North America. Reassortment between H1N1 and H3N2 produced H1N2. In 1999 in Canada, a strain of H4N6 crossed the species barrier from birds to pigs, but was contained on a single farm.[17

The H1N1 form of swine flu is one of the descendants of the strain that caused the 1918 flu pandemic.[18[19 As well as persisting in pigs, the descendants of the 1918 virus have also circulated in humans through the 20th century, contributing to the normal seasonal epidemics of influenza.[19 However, direct transmission from pigs to humans is rare, with only 12 cases in the U.S. since 2005.[20 Nevertheless, the retention of influenza strains in pigs after these strains have disappeared from the human population might make pigs a reservoir where influenza viruses could persist, later emerging to reinfect humans once human immunity to these strains has waned.[21

Swine flu has been reported numerous times as a zoonosis in humans, usually with limited distribution, rarely with a widespread distribution. Outbreaks in swine are common and cause significant economic losses in industry, primarily by causing stunting and extended time to market. For example, this disease costs the British meat industry about £65 million every year.[22

Social distancing is another tactic. It means staying away from other people who might be infected and can include avoiding large gatherings, spreading out a little at work, or perhaps staying home and lying low if an infection is spreading in a community. Public health and other responsible authorities have action plans which may request or require social distancing actions depending on the severity of the outbreak.

Vaccination
Main article: 2009 flu pandemic vaccine
Vaccines are available for different kinds of swine flu. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the new swine flu vaccine for use in the United States on September 15, 2009.[92 Studies by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), show that a single dose creates enough antibodies to protect against the virus within about 10 days.[92

Treatment
In swine
As swine influenza is rarely fatal to pigs, little treatment beyond rest and supportive care is required.[59 Instead veterinary efforts are focused on preventing the spread of the virus throughout the farm, or to other farms.[11 Vaccination and animal management techniques are most important in these efforts. Antibiotics are also used to treat this disease, which although they have no effect against the influenza virus, do help prevent bacterial pneumonia and other secondary infections in influenza-weakened herds.[59

In humans
If a person becomes sick with swine flu, antiviral drugs can make the illness milder and make the patient feel better faster. They may also prevent serious flu complications. For treatment, antiviral drugs work best if started soon after getting sick (within 2 days of symptoms). Beside antivirals, supportive care at home or in hospital, focuses on controlling fevers, relieving pain and maintaining fluid balance, as well as identifying and treating any secondary infections or other medical problems. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the use of Tamiflu (oseltamivir) or Relenza (zanamivir) for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with swine influenza viruses; however, the majority of people infected with the virus make a full recovery without requiring medical attention or antiviral drugs.[93 The virus isolates in the 2009 outbreak have been found resistant to amantadine and rimantadine.[94

In the U.S., on April 27, 2009, the FDA issued Emergency Use Authorizations to make available Relenza and Tamiflu antiviral drugs to treat the swine influenza virus in cases for which they are currently unapproved. The agency issued these EUAs to allow treatment of patients younger than the current approval allows and to allow the widespread distribution of the drugs, including by non-licensed volunteers.[95