According to an article from MeatingPlace.com, the Centers for Disease Control has reported that at least two children – one from Indiana and the other from Pennsylvania – have been diagnosed with a respiratory illness caused by “swine-original influenza A.”
They say that, in the report, the agency explained that genetic analysis can distinguish animal origin influenza viruses from the seasonal human influenza viruses that resurface each year. The strain that sickened the two children is identified as H3N2. No epidemiologic link between the two cases has been identified, and although investigations are ongoing, no additional confirmed human infections with this virus have been detected, according to the report.
We spoke with Dr. Jennifer Koeman, Director for Producer and Public Health with the National Pork Board about the announcement yesterday.
She says that the flu from one of the sick children had a gene from the H1N1 virus that was circulating in last year’s flu. Dr. Koeman says that flu viruses are constantly changing in both the animal and human populations so re-assorted viruses like this, where they come together, are not unexpected.
She explained the term “swine-origin” is consistent with standardized naming of the viruses and doesn’t mean that infections necessarily came from pigs.
They are encouraging that pork producers continue to follow all biosecurity precautions including having sick workers stay away from swine, requiring works to wash their hands and having everyone get a flu shot.
For biosecurity information sheets from the Pork Checkoff, CLICK HERE.
Dr. Koeman emphasized again the message that we heard so strong during the H1N1 outbreak and that is that you cannot catch any flu from eating or handling pork or pork products. There have also been no deaths linked to this new strain of the flu.
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