Swine influenza is a respiratory disease in pigs caused by type A influenza viruses. Which produces influenza epidemics in pigs on a regular basis. “Swine influenza viruses” or “swine flu viruses” are influenza viruses that routinely circulate in pigs. And have different subtypes and strains, just like human influenza viruses. The swine triple reassortant (tr) H1N1 influenza virus, trH3N2 virus, and trH1N2 virus have been the predominant swine influenza viruses circulating in US pigs in recent years.
When swine flu was first detected in humans and became a pandemic in 2009, it grabbed headlines. Pandemics are infectious diseases that spread across the globe or across numerous continents.
In August 2010, the H1N1 pandemic was declared over by the World Health Organization (WHO). The H1N1 virus has been classified as a typical human flu virus since then. It, like other flu strains, continues to spread throughout flu season.
Moreover, with swine influenza infections, morbidity rates can reach 100%. Whereas fatality rates are often modest. The principal economic consequence is a delay in weight gain. Which results in a long time to achieve market weight.
How Do You Catch It?
In the same way that seasonal flu does. When people with the virus cough or sneeze. Little drops of the virus are released into the air. You can get H1N1 swine flu if you come into contact with these drops. Also if you touch a surface (such as a doorknob or sink) where the drops landed, or touch anything an infected person has just touched.
Human infections with swine influenza viruses have been recorded on rare occasions. Mainly in people who have had direct contact with infected pigs and have symptoms that are similar to seasonal influenza. Human-to-human transmission of swine influenza viruses is extremely rare.
Swine influenza is not transmitted by food. The risk of contracting swine influenza viruses by consuming pork or pig products is quite low. Even during acute sickness, influenza viruses are confined to the respiratory system of pigs and are not found in their muscle (meat).
What is the prevalence of swine flu in pigs?
The H1N1 and H3N2 swine flu viruses are ubiquitous in pig populations in the United States, and the industry deals with them on a regular basis. Pig outbreaks are more common during the cooler months (late fall and winter), although they can happen at any time. Humans first introduced H3N2 viruses to the pig population. However, the H3N2 viruses circulating in pigs have evolved since then. H3N2 viruses currently circulating in pigs are not the same as seasonal H3N2 viruses that circulate in humans.
The flu produced by the H1N1 virus has similar signs and symptoms to other flu strains, and can include:
Sometimes, but not always, there is a fever.
Red eyes that are watery
Aches and pains throughout the body
vomiting and nausea
After being exposed to the virus, flu symptoms appear one to three days later.
Additionally, around 25% to 30% of pigs globally have antibodies to swine influenza viruses, indicating that they have been exposed to the virus. Pigs in the United States are endemic to the disease, with more than half of pigs carrying antibodies to swine influenza viruses in some areas. Infection with any of these viruses induces a flu-like sickness in pigs in the fall and early winter. Coughing (barking), fever, and nasal discharge are common symptoms of infection, and the disease lasts around a week.
If a doctor suspects a patient has H1N1 or another type of flu, they may recommend a test to confirm the diagnosis.
Also, Swine flu can be detected with a fast influenza diagnostic test. However, the efficiency of this test varies, and it may produce a false negative when a certain influenza virus strain is present.
In specialist laboratories, more precise tests are available.
Most people only need a quick flu test because the therapy will be the same regardless of the test result.
Prevention and treatment
Because no specific medications exist for pigs with swine flu, treatment is only supportive. Controlling the disease requires maintaining a clean and dry environment and keeping infected pigs isolated from healthy pigs.
Hence, vaccination against the viruses can help avoid swine flu outbreaks in pigs. Sanitary actions such as sanitizing spaces occupied by infected pigs, disposing of contaminated bedding, and washing hands after handling infected animals can also help to reduce the virus’s transmission among pigs.
These measures also aid in the prevention and control of the flu:
Cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue. After that, wash your hands.
Keep your hands off your face. Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Clear the area. Clean frequently touched surfaces on a regular basis to prevent illness from spreading from a virus-infected surface to your body.
Avoid making touch. If at all possible, avoid crowds. If you’re at high risk of complications from the flu, such as if you’re under the age of 5 or 65, pregnant, or have a chronic medical condition like diabetes,
Some people are more susceptible to the flu, especially H1N1, as well as severe symptoms and consequences.
Among these people are:
people over the age of 65
children under the age of five
diabetics, HIV-positive persons, and cancer patients
those suffering from chronic lung diseases like asthma
persons with heart failure or chronic heart disease
someone who has a weakened immune system
Neurologically challenged children