Swine flu strain has transmitted between humans and pigs numerous times

Swine flu strain has transmitted between humans and pigs numerous times

Study Shows Influenza Strain Responsible for 2009 Pandemic is Prolific in Hopping Between Species


It’s a well-known fact that some viruses have the ability to make the leap from animals to humans. However, a recent study has revealed that the influenza strain responsible for the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, known as pdm09, has been particularly proficient in jumping between species. In fact, researchers have discovered that pdm09 has passed from humans to swine a staggering 370 times since the pandemic.

Influenza A is capable of causing the flu in humans, birds, swine, and certain other mammals. It is also known that evolutionary changes occur while the virus passes among swine, which can make it more likely to cross back and infect humans. To gain a deeper understanding of this risk, a team of researchers led by Alexey Markin, a postdoctoral fellow in the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service, conducted an analysis of pdm09 transmission data between 2009 and 2021.

The analysis revealed that pdm09 had crossed from humans to swine around 370 times since 2009, with most of these events occurring when pdm09 was heavily circulating among humans. Interestingly, even during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021 when pdm09 circulation among humans dropped, it continued to persist in swine due to around 150 human-to-swine transmissions that had occurred between 2018 and 2020.

While most of these human-to-swine transmission events were isolated, a few actually led to sustained circulation of different pdm09 genetic lineages among swine in the United States. Disturbingly, researchers found that these variants were genetically poor matches for human seasonal vaccines, suggesting they would have provided little to no protection against them. Furthermore, persistent pdm09 circulation among swine was associated with at least five instances of swine-to-human transmission.

The implications of these findings are significant. Individuals who work closely with pigs should exercise caution to avoid catching or transmitting the flu, thereby minimizing the risk of even more contagious virus variants emerging. “Controlling influenza A virus infection in humans can minimize spillover of viruses into pigs and reduce the diversity of viruses circulating in swine populations,” wrote the researchers. “Limiting virus diversity in pigs can minimize the emergence of novel viruses and the potential for swine-to-human transmission of influenza A virus.”

The study, which was published on July 27 in the journal PLOS Pathogens, adds to the growing body of evidence emphasizing the importance of influenza prevention and control measures in both human and animal populations.


Bacterial Infections 101: Types, Symptoms, and Treatments

In addition to the study on pdm09 transmission, it’s worth exploring another aspect of health – bacterial infections. While viruses may dominate the headlines, bacteria can also wreak havoc on our health. From strep throat to urinary tract infections, bacterial infections are a common concern. Understanding the different types, symptoms, and treatments can help us better protect ourselves.

To start, let’s take a closer look at what bacteria actually are. Bacteria are single-celled microorganisms that can exist in different shapes and sizes. Some bacteria are beneficial, while others have the potential to cause harm. The harmful bacteria are known as pathogens and are responsible for the development of bacterial infections.

Bacterial infections can affect various parts of the body, such as the respiratory system, urinary tract, skin, and even the digestive system. Common examples include pneumonia, urinary tract infections, cellulitis, and food poisoning. Symptoms of bacterial infections can vary depending on the affected area but may include fever, pain, inflammation, and general malaise.

Treatment for bacterial infections will often involve the use of antibiotics. These medications work by targeting and killing the bacteria causing the infection. However, it’s important to note that antibiotics are only effective against bacterial infections and not against viral infections. Taking antibiotics for viral infections, such as the common cold or flu, will not only be ineffective but can also contribute to antibiotic resistance.

Preventing bacterial infections involves practicing good hygiene, such as washing hands regularly, especially before handling food and after using the bathroom. Additionally, ensuring that vaccines are up to date, particularly those for respiratory and bacterial infections like pneumonia, can also help prevent illness.

In conclusion, while viruses like pdm09 can be highly transmissible, it’s essential to remember that bacteria also pose a significant health risk. Being aware of the different types of bacterial infections, recognizing their symptoms, and understanding the appropriate treatments can empower individuals to take necessary precautions to safeguard their health.

For more information on influenza A and bacterial infections, you can refer to the resources provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sources:PLOS PathogensU.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention