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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: SWINE VIRAL DISEASES PATHOGENESIS AND IMMUNOLOGY Title: The role of swine in the generation of novel influenza viruses

Authors
item Ma, Wenjun - KANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY
item Lager, Kelly
item Vincent, Amy
item Janke, B -
item Gramer, M -
item Richt, Juergen

Submitted to: Zoonoses and Public Health
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 23, 2008
Publication Date: August 1, 2009
Citation: Ma, W., Lager, K.M., Vincent, A.L., Janke, B.H., Gramer, M.R., Richt, J.A. 2009. The Role of Swine in the Generation of Novel Influenza Viruses. Zoonoses and Public Health. 56(6-7):326-337.

Interpretive Summary: Swine flu is a disease caused by influenza A viruses, and is a leading cause of economic loss for US pork producers. Avian species have variable susceptibility to influenza A viruses and they are the reservoir for this group of pathogens. Occasionally, influenza A viruses are transmitted to mammals from avian species, which can lead to the development of human pandemic strains by direct or indirect transmission to man. Because swine are also susceptible to infection with avian and human influenza viruses, genetic mixing or reassortment between these viruses and/or swine influenza viruses can occur. The potential to generate novel flu viruses has led swine to be called the "mixing vessel". The mixing vessel theory is one mechanism by which unique viruses can be transmitted from an avian reservoir to man. Although swine can generate novel flu viruses capable of infecting man, at present it is difficult to predict which virus, if any, will induce a human pandemic. Clearly, the ecology of influenza A viruses is dynamic and can impact the health of man and his companion animals as well as the health of livestock and poultry for production of valuable protein commodities. Based on history, influenza is, and will continue to be, a serious threat to the wellbeing of mankind.

Technical Abstract: The ecology of influenza A viruses is very complicated involving multiple host species and viral genes. Avian species have variable susceptibility to influenza A viruses and they are the reservoir for this group of pathogens. Occasionally, influenza A viruses are transmitted to mammals from avian species, which can lead to the development of human pandemic strains by direct or indirect transmission to man. Because swine are also susceptible to infection with avian and human influenza viruses, genetic reassortment between these viruses and/or swine influenza viruses can occur. The potential to generate novel flu viruses has led swine to be called the "mixing vessel". The mixing vessel theory is one mechanism by which unique viruses can be transmitted from an avian reservoir to man. Although swine can generate novel flu viruses capable of infecting man, at present it is difficult to predict which virus, if any, will induce a human pandemic. Clearly, the ecology of influenza A viruses is dynamic and can impact the health of man and his companion animals as well as the health of livestock and poultry for production of valuable protein commodities. Based on history, influenza is, and will continue to be, a serious threat to the wellbeing of mankind.

Last Modified: 10/1/2014
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