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J Infect Dis. 2008 Feb 15;197 Suppl 1:S19-24. doi: 10.1086/524988.

Swine influenza virus: zoonotic potential and vaccination strategies for the control of avian and swine influenzas.

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  • 1Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Preventive Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA.


Influenza viruses are able to infect humans, swine, and avian species, and swine have long been considered a potential source of new influenza viruses that can infect humans. Swine have receptors to which both avian and mammalian influenza viruses bind, which increases the potential for viruses to exchange genetic sequences and produce new reassortant viruses in swine. A number of genetically diverse viruses are circulating in swine herds throughout the world and are a major cause of concern to the swine industry. Control of swine influenza is primarily through the vaccination of sows, to protect young pigs through maternally derived antibodies. However, influenza viruses continue to circulate in pigs after the decay of maternal antibodies, providing a continuing source of virus on a herd basis. Measures to control avian influenza in commercial poultry operations are dictated by the virulence of the virus. Detection of a highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus results in immediate elimination of the flock. Low-pathogenic avian influenza viruses are controlled through vaccination, which is done primarily in turkey flocks. Maintenance of the current HPAI virus-free status of poultry in the United States is through constant surveillance of poultry flocks. Although current influenza vaccines for poultry and swine are inactivated and adjuvanted, ongoing research into the development of newer vaccines, such as DNA, live-virus, or vectored vaccines, is being done. Control of influenza virus infection in poultry and swine is critical to the reduction of potential cross-species adaptation and spread of influenza viruses, which will minimize the risk of animals being the source of the next pandemic.

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