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It now appears that Influenza A (H1N1) can now be passed from humans to pigs - as apparently has happened in Canada. There are a few reports around that point to Bird Flu (H5N1) infecting pig populations without causing the pigs to exhibit any obvious symptoms.
I'm wondering two things here: 1. Has influenza passed from Humans to Pigs easily in the past and 2. What are the chances of the new influenza A (H1N1) and bird flu (H5N1) combining in a pig and creating something new?


Above Ground Pool Covers said...

I think this virus is changing so quickly there are a lot of unanswered questions. We are yet to see the full impact.

Sai said...

With the reproduction rate of bacteria and viruses, it's exceptionally easy for new mutations and strains to arise. The most virile strain will be the most adaptable one, able to infect and live within a wide range of hosts. The current swine flu H1N1 is no exception to the case.
From wikipedia:
The swine influenza virus isolated from patients in the United States was found to be made up of genetic elements from four different flu viruses – North American Mexican influenza, North American avian influenza, human influenza, and swine influenza virus typically found in Asia and Europe – "an unusually mongrelised mix of genetic sequences."
As for whether or not the human-to-livestock trait has been seen in the past, I do not doubt it though most records are probably more biased towards reporting livestock-to-human in the end.

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