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H1N1 Appears To Be Transmittable From Human To Pig 132

Posted by timothy
from the reciprocity-is-just-good-manners dept.
mpetch writes "In an interesting twist, it appears that H1N1 influenza can be transmitted from humans to swine. Apparently a Canadian pig farmer vacationed in Mexico, returned to Canada and infected about 10% of the swine on an Alberta farm. The swine subsequently developed flu symptoms."
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H1N1 Appears To Be Transmittable From Human To Pig

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  • Obligatory (Score:5, Funny)

    by schmidt349 (690948) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @02:35PM (#27807891)

    On top of everything else, now we have to worry about our police being knocked out by influenza!

    Great.

    • Re:Obligatory (Score:4, Informative)

      by FriendlyLurker (50431) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @03:36PM (#27808427)

      From WHO: "There is no indication of virus adaptation through transfer from human to pigs at this time."
      http://www.who.int/csr/don/2009_05_03a/en/index.html [who.int]

      US exports $5 billion+ pork each year. Mexico imports most of its pork from US/Canada. Other countries such as China know that the swine flu was much more likely to have incubated in the massive pig farms of US and Canada before transferring to humans, rather than the other way round as so called "news" like this try to make us believe.

      "China was also selective, banning only pork from Texas, California and Kansas, while the Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, Kazakhstan, Serbia, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates and Ecuador said theyâ(TM)re stopping all U.S. pork imports, according to Nefeterius Akeli McPherson of the U.S. trade representativeâ(TM)s office."
      China ban US pork [google.com]

  • by gyrogeerloose (849181) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @02:38PM (#27807917) Journal
    9 out of 10 pigs suggest calling it "Human Flu."
  • Surprised? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by RoFLKOPTr (1294290)

    If H1N1 is able to infect humans... and it's able to infect swine... and it's transferable from swine to humans... why wouldn't it be transferable from human to swine? How is this news?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's news because it hasn't been seen in swine until now!

    • Re:Surprised? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by princessproton (1362559) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @03:20PM (#27808277)

      My understanding was that there was some amount of genetic reassortment that allowed the swine flu to be infectious to humans, and to transmit human to human. This altered virus is then somewhat different than the swine flu that typically infects swine, so I think that (in addition to not previously being documented) it is seen as interesting that the virus would jump back to the swine population after mutation. Of course, I may be completely wrong about this, and I encourage anyone better versed in virology to correct me.

      • Re:Surprised? (Score:5, Informative)

        by PCM2 (4486) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @03:38PM (#27808445) Homepage

        Current reports indicate that this strain of H1N1 influenza contains genetic material from swine, avian, and human forms of the disease. That's probably why it can spread easily from humans to pigs; normally, a virus does not cross species unless there is frequent or prolonged close contact between the two, because making the leap depends on genetic mutation. In this case, the virus is already adapted to both hosts.

        To further clarify, the name "H1N1" refers only to a particular configuration of two proteins on the surface of the virus (H is hemagglutinin and N is neuraminidase). The configuration of these proteins determines how the immune system will react to a given strain of influenza (i.e. which antibodies will be able to recognize and attack it), which is the most useful information to have when it comes to treating the disease, but there are other factors that determine a given strain's properties.

        So the news here is not that H1N1 flu can jump from humans to pigs -- it can't, not necessarily -- the news is that this variety appears to be able to. And it's not that we didn't know this could be possible -- we've seen this kind of thing countless times, and in fact it's believed that all forms of influenza ultimately come from birds -- it's just that calling it "H1N1 flu" doesn't give us enough information to make those kinds of predictions about its virulence.

    • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @03:20PM (#27808281)
      Apparently, it's news in the sense that we have now learned that Canadians kiss pigs.
    • Re:Surprised? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by nospam007 (722110) * on Sunday May 03, 2009 @03:25PM (#27808321)

      How is any of this news?

      The normal, unswinely Influenza killed 190,000 people this year, just as every year and nobody gives a shit.

      The Swine one killed 1.

      • by PCM2 (4486) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @04:05PM (#27808615) Homepage

        The H1N1 strain of type A influenza is the strain associated with the global influenza pandemic of 1918. In that year, not 190,000 but tens of millions of people died.

        Normally, the people who die from influenza are the very young or the very old. The shocking characteristic of the 1918 variety was that a great many of the people who succumbed to the disease were young and fit. They went from being healthy and happy to being dead in an alarmingly short period. Immunology had not advanced far enough at that time to for doctors to understand why this was happening, but today it is believed to have been the result of a phenomenon known as cytokine storm, which is a severe autoimmune reaction. In other words, the patients died because they were so fit and had healthy -- their immune systems, reacting to the sudden threat, went nuts and attacked their own bodies.

        Modern medicine could reduce the body count of such a flu dramatically, but if such a strain appeared again it would still be catastrophic. Treating viruses is still very difficult. There is still no cure for the common cold -- and, under normal circumstances, most people who get the flu just sit it out. Providing medicine for every patient in a true pandemic would be very costly and it's likely that there simply wouldn't be enough for everybody. It is also difficult to treat an autoimmune reaction in a patient that is already known to be suffering from a serious infection -- suppress the immune system and the virus wins. So don't assume that it would be easy to keep a new pandemic under control just because it's almost a century later.

        So the reason for all the hubbub is clear. Scientists want to be the Paul Reveres of a future pandemic: The British are coming, they're not already here. So to arms now -- not when they're in our homes. Governments can be very slow-moving when confronted with unforeseen things and they often need this kind of uproar from the medical community before prevention protocols can kick in.

    • > If H1N1 is able to infect humans... and it's able to infect swine... and it's
      > transferable from swine to humans... why wouldn't it be transferable from human to
      > swine? How is this news?

      a) It was not known for sure before this that it could infect swine (and be transferred among them).

      b) It has never been known to be transmitted from swine to humans.

      • by CheShACat (999169)
        > b) It has never been known to be transmitted from swine to humans.
        Actually, shortly after this article was printed, there was a case in Soviet Russia where...
  • Noooooooo!! (Score:4, Funny)

    by zmollusc (763634) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @02:42PM (#27807945)

    OMG this will threaten stability and availability of teh bacons!

  • Maybe that's why you don't see pigs on planes ...

  • is there any chance that this is how it started, a sick mexican passed it on to his/her pigs, then we assumed it was some horrible new thing that had managed the pig-human jump? I am quite possibly talking out my arse since i am not a viroligist or whatever the appropriate field would be
  • by thomasdz (178114) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @02:49PM (#27808017)

    They always said there was no way that this could happen. They said that pigs would fly before this happened.
    Well... Swine Flew

    Thanks...I'll be here all week

    • Thanks to Pink Floyd pigs flew over the English channel in 1976 already.

    • Well... Swine Flew

      No, the pig go. The dove fly:

      The pig go. Go is to the fountain. The pig put foot. Grunt. Foot in what? ketchup. The dove fly. Fly is in sky. The dove drop something. The something on the pig. The pig disgusting. The pig rattle. Rattle with dove. The dove angry. The pig leave. The dove produce. Produce is chicken wing. With wing bark. No Quack.

      I believe the above passage is a prediction of this epidemic by the nascent brain [thedailywtf.com] of Skynet.

  • take that you swines! its payback time >:)
  • Just when I thought the chart format was stabilizing we need 3 more columns!
  • Name (Score:5, Funny)

    by AlastairLynn (1366585) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @02:53PM (#27808051)
    I *still* think that Bacon Fever is a superior name. Just sayin'.
  • Take THAT! (Score:5, Funny)

    by oldhack (1037484) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @02:54PM (#27808057)
    You oinky vermins! You oinky, wonderous animal, you, delicious... ZOMG, what have we done?!
    • Upon finding out Lisa is going vegetarian-

      Homer: Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. Lisa honey, are you saying you're *never* going to eat any animal again? What about bacon?
      Lisa: No.
      Homer: Ham?
      Lisa: No.
      Homer: Pork chops?
      Lisa: Dad! Those all come from the same animal!
      Homer: Yeah, right Lisa. A wonderful, *magical* animal!

  • Time for a sequel to Animal Farm. At some point in the story, the paranoid pigs will order a culling of all humans.

  • by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @03:01PM (#27808115) Homepage Journal

    i hope they don't cull us to save the pig population.

    • Look at it this way. If you survive the cull bacon prices will be waaayyyyy down. And ham will be cheep enough for every meal.
      • by tftp (111690)

        If you survive the cull bacon prices will be waaayyyyy down

        Yes, as long as bacon comes from a long pig ...

  • I don't know why anyone would find this at all surprising.

    The pigs are in confinement. The farmer has daily contact. It's an airborne disease.

    I'd be far more worried if the swine hadn't been infected.

    That implies a mutation. That the disease has taken root in the human population.

    • > I'd be far more worried if the swine hadn't been infected.

      While it is not too surprising that it can infect swine, it also would not have been too surprising if it couldn't. It's a human inluenza.

      > That implies a mutation.

      Flu mutates all the time.

      > That the disease has taken root in the human population.

      Flu took root in the human population a long, long, long time ago.

  • by aceofspades1217 (1267996) <aceofspades1217.gmail@com> on Sunday May 03, 2009 @03:13PM (#27808233) Homepage Journal

    our politicians were immune.

  • by viralMeme (1461143) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @03:30PM (#27808375)
    It appears to be different strains of flu virus crossing species and undergoing genetic reassortment [birdflubook.com]. Where their is no direct infection route between species 'an intermediate host may be needed for genetic reassortment of human and avian viruses. Pigs are considered a logical candidate for this role because they can be infected by either avian or human viruses'.

    As to how it jumps species in the first place, one way is to drink raw avian blood as in Tit Canh [ehow.com]. Then infect some tourist who gets on a plane and who coughs infected droplets into air that is recycled for a number of hours.
    • As to how it jumps species in the first place, one way is to drink raw avian blood as in Tit Canh [ehow.com]. Then infect some tourist who gets on a plane and who coughs infected droplets into air that is recycled for a number of hours.

      Ok, we need to put a stop to this myth like thirty years ago.

      THE AIR ON PLANES ISN'T RECYCLED.

      Bottled oxygen and CO2 scrubbers are heavy and expensive, and completely unnecessary.* The plane is surrounded by a breathing medium that is perfectly adequate in every way except temperature and density. A problem which is solved by the same step: Compressed air is diverted from the engines before the fuel is mixed in. The compression is mostly adiabatic, so that raises the temperature, too.

      *A small amount of b

      • Ok, we need to put a stop to this myth like thirty years ago.

        THE AIR ON PLANES ISN'T RECYCLED.

        It seems your information is outdated. Once again, Google to the rescue:

        http://www.scientificjournals.com/sj/espr/Pdf/aId/2518 [scientificjournals.com]

        Quoting:

        Today some 50% of commercial passen- ger aircraft use recirculated air for ventilation of the passenger cabin

        also here: http://www.faqs.org/faqs/travel/air/handbook/part3/section-3.html [faqs.org]

        Newer airplanes recirculate part of the cabin air (up to 50%) to save fuel, in contrast with older planes, which use all fresh air ventilation.

        and a small article here:

        http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Health/story?id=1213901&page=1 [go.com]

        • by rantingkitten (938138) <kitten@mirrorsha ... minus herbivore> on Monday May 04, 2009 @03:48AM (#27813227) Homepage
          He's still right. What you're saying is basically akin to saying that the air in a car is "recycled" because it's not moving 100% of the air mass at all times. For a good duration of the time you spend in a car with closed windows, you're breathing in the same air you breathed out a moment ago. But it isn't airtight, and there are vents, so 100% of it gets cycled out eventually.

          When people speak of "recycled air" on an airplane they seem to think that aircraft are like submarines, completely airtight, and the only air is that which you had when you took off from the runway. This simply isn't the case -- it's all going to get cycled out and continuously refreshed. Of course a certain amount is getting recirculated, just as in a closed car, but sooner or later it's all fresh air. You're not landing with the same air molecules you had when you took off.

          In commercial aircraft (I don't know about small craft like Cessnas), there are one or more apertures, usually near the rear of the plane, which can open and close to variable diameters, and that's part of how cabin pressure is regulated. You pump more air into the cabin than you let out through the aperture, and the result is a higher air pressure than what's outside -- and that air is indeed being pumped in from the outside, through the engines (which are basically doing nothing but forcing air around at high velocity anyway).

          Incidentally this is also why shooting a gun in an aircraft and blowing a hole through the hull isn't the huge deal everyone thinks it is, resulting in decompression and a big crisis. If such a thing occured, the apertures would simply close a bit more to compensate for the drop in pressure, and all would be well -- at least as far as cabin pressure is concerned.
          • by Acer500 (846698)

            He's still right. What you're saying is basically akin to saying that the air in a car is "recycled" because it's not moving 100% of the air mass at all times. (snip)

            When people speak of "recycled air" on an airplane they seem to think that aircraft are like submarines, completely airtight, and the only air is that which you had when you took off from the runway.

            I guess either I misunderstood, or you did, but I wasn't thinking of "recycled air" in the submarine sense.

            The OP spoke about getting infected from recycled air. Zippthorne said it was a myth. My answer quotes two articles which address the fear of contagion, and they seem to take for granted that the possibility exists:

            All planes use HEPA (High Efficiency Particle Air) filters to remove dust, bacteria, and viruses
            As the proportion of recirculated air provided for ventilation is increased, energy savings can be experienced at the same time as health risks raised.

            of particular concern in this setting is the increased risk of disease transmission... if any of the passengers should happen to be ill with a disease which is communicable via air (HOLLAND, 1996; SEXTON, 1993.

            Recirculated air is usually filtered before being mixed with outside air for return to the passenger cabin. However, the efficiency of the filters used for this purpose varies with airline policy from 90% for 0.5 μm particles (European Union (EU) 9 classification) to 99.97% for 0.3 μm diameter particles (EU 13, or high efficiency particulate air â" HEPA â" filters))

            According to the quoted articles, the filters should help stop propagation of viruses due to recirculation (as long as they're HEPA compliant or better), but the threat exists (mostly than

  • pity (Score:3, Interesting)

    by boxlight (928484) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @03:34PM (#27808415)
    why do i feel more sorry for the pigs who catch it than the people?
  • Pigs are unusual as they can be infected with influenza strains that usually infect three different species: pigs, birds and humans. pigs are like influenza adapters.
  • Sneeze on a pig

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 03, 2009 @04:09PM (#27808663)

    The pigs are fully covered under Canada's national health care, and are receiving medical attention at a Calgary hospital. Attorneys for the patients would not comment on their plans for a possible lawsuit against the farmer. Provincial authorities also remained tight-lipped over reports of bringing possible charges of bio-terrorism. "When you have an attack that leaves over 200 victims in it's wake, most of them unable to speak for themselves, then we've got a responsibility to act", said one official who wished to remain anonymous.

    Stay tuned to CBC News for further updates on this developing situation.

  • The first thing that came to mind when reading this article was a resounding "No Shit."

  • That's it (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Absolute last time I bang a pig.
  • So if it mutates and crosses back to humans should we call it the Canadian Bacon Flu ?

  • bears come into the equation, will we be forced to call it manbearpig flu?
  • by JustNiz (692889)

    Sweet revenge at last....

  • There is no need to fear swine flu if you follow precautions. I put together a fast fact sheet at http://www.doihaveswineflu.me/ [doihaveswineflu.me]

Your code should be more efficient!

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