Currently, world disease experts are dealing with an outbreak of human-to-human transmitted H1N1 influenza, known by the misnomer of Swine Flu. Here's what you need to know...
1. The disease remains predominantly limited to human-to-human transmission and presents a risk to swine populations from humans. In an Alberta farm a herd of swine were found to test positive for the H1N1 influenza. They contracted the virus from a worker on the farm who had recently visited Mexico and subsequently became ill. More recently a swine herd in Indiana was found to test positive for the H1N1 virus.
2. Infected swine do not pose a foodborne illness risk to people. It is important to remember that the food supply will remian safe, even if U.S. swine are found to be infected.
3. The CDC has determine that this new flu virus contains genetic pieces from four different virus sources. The virus consists of North American swine influenza viruses, North American avian influenza viruses, human influenza viruses, and swine influenza viruses found in both Asia and Europe. This is perhaps where the name originated.
4. Since November 2009 the H1N1 virus has been confirmed to have infected a small number of cats, ferrets, and dogs. The AVMA reminds owners that this is not cause for panic but underscores the importance of taking pets to a veterinarian if they are showing signs of illness. This is especially important if someone in the household has been ill with flu-like symptoms. They also remind the public that to date, all of the sick pets became ill after a person in the household was ill with flu-like symptoms. There is no evidence to suggest that pets have or will spread the virus to humans or other animals. Finally proper hygiene and sanitation measures should be followed to limit the spread of influenza virus.