The Western College of Veterinary Medicine advises, with flu season on us once again, there are signs of a return of the H1N1 virus that caused a global pandemic in 2009.
With influenza season on us once again, people are being advised to get their annual flu shot to help contain the spread of the flu and minimize symptoms if infected.
Dr. Susan Detmer, an associate professor with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, says the H1N1 virus that caused a worldwide pandemic in 2009 has become a seasonal virus and, because we had such nice warm fall, we’re just starting to see increased influenza activity in the pig population.
What we expect is that, over the next month we’re going to surge a bit. Certainly, that will be most of the viruses that are already circulating. As the weather gets colder, we turn down the ventilation on the farms to keep things warmer, there isn’t as much fresh cold air circulating so, because of that, we always start to see more coughing and more respiratory disease overall. But we do expect that there will be human to pig transmission, especially come December, come the Christmas season and I do expect come January to have more samples arrive for testing because of that.
What we know of what was circulating in humans at the end of last season was mostly H1N1 seasonal virus, which is that evolved version of that 2009 pandemic H1N1 virus. We also know that 90 percent of what has been detected this fall by the CDC in humans has been H1N1 pandemic like virus and so because of that we know that’s what’s circulating in people.
~ Dr. Susan Detmer, Western College of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Detmer says her surveillance has shown that there’s a lot more H1N1 in human populations every few years in Canada and the U.S. and when that happens we see more spillover into the pigs.