New York-People in the swine industry are infected with swine influenza more often than previously thought, according to a report in a recent issue of the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.
People in the swine industry are infected with swine influenza more often than previously thought, according to a report in a recent issue of the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.
The finding suggests that pigs could potentially serve as the "hosts"from which mutant flu strains with epidemic potential arise, researchersnote.
The study of pig farm workers in Wisconsin, which included veterinariansand residents, found that 17 of 74 had antibodies to swine flu viruses intheir blood, indicating an infection. Only one of 114 blood samples takenfrom the general population harbored such antibodies.
Dr. Christopher W. Olsen and his colleagues explain the species barrierbetween people and pigs doesn't appear to be stringent.
To see how often pigs might pass flu viruses to humans, Olsen, a researcherat the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and his associates tested bloodsamples from pig farm owners, their families, employees, employees' spousesand farm veterinarians.
Compared with samples from the nearby urban population, people involvedin pig farming were far more likely to have antibodies to swine influenza-particularlyfarm owners and their families, the report indicates.
According to Olsen's team, it is unclear whether infection with a swineflu virus could produce an illness any different from the everyday flu.