Swine flu strain with human pandemic potential increasingly found in pigs in China
So a new finding that pigs in China are more and more frequently becoming infected with a strain of influenza that has the potential to jump to humans has infectious disease researchers worldwide taking serious notice.
The virus is a unique blend of three lineages: one similar to strains found in European and Asian birds, the H1N1 strain that caused the 2009 pandemic, and a North American H1N1 that has genes from avian, human, and pig influenza viruses.
Influenza viruses frequently jump from pigs to humans, but most do not then transmit between humans.
“The likelihood that this particular variant is going to cause a pandemic is low,” says Martha Nelson, an evolutionary biologist at the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s Fogarty International Center who studies pig influenza viruses in the United States and their spread to humans.