April 28, 2009
Swine influenza is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses and has a major economic impact on the swine industry in the United States. Flu outbreaks in pigs are common, especially during winter months. Swine flu can result in high rates of illness in herds.
Signs of swine flu in pigs may include:|
Q: How does swine flu spread among pigs?
A: Swine flu viruses are thought to spread mostly through close contact among pigs and possibly from contaminated objects moving between infected and uninfected pigs. Herds with continuous swine flu infections and herds that are vaccinated against swine flu might have sporadic disease, or may show only mild or no signs of infection.
Q: Can swine flu infections be prevented in pigs?
A: Swine flu infections can be potentially prevented by:
Q: What about flu vaccines for pigs?
A: Flu vaccines for pigs can help, but are not 100% effective. One reason is that several different strains of flu can infect pigs and vaccines might not protect against all strains.
Q: How can veterinarians help?
A: Veterinarians can help to develop management strategies to reduce the spread of flu among herds and to prevent the spread of flu viruses between pigs, people, and birds.
Q: Can people catch swine flu from eating pork?
A: There is no evidence to show that swine influenza can be transmitted through food. Eating properly handled and cooked pork and pork products is safe. Cooking pork to an internal temperature of 160°F kills bacteria and viruses.
First, wash your hands frequently after exposure to animals and avoid contact with ill appearing animals. If you or your family becomes ill with flu-like symptoms, let your doctor know if you have been around pigs that could have the flu. A nose or throat swab is needed to determine if you might be infected with a swine flu virus.
Most cases of influenza in humans are caused by human flu viruses. However, in the unusual event that you are infected with a swine flu virus, the health department will want to talk with you about your illness and make sure that other people you live and work with are not sick with swine flu. Influenza medications are available to treat swine flu illness in people. These medicines should be started in the first 2 days of being ill to be most effective.
|It is important to know if swine flu viruses are spreading among people so that public health authorities can work to prevent future cases.|