H3N1 swine influenza virus in domestic pigs has been identified by scientists in South Korea - says a November 2006 issue of the Journal of clinical microbiology, following the findings of J.J. Shin and colleagues at Pukyong National University.
A highly infectious respiratory pathogen, the H3N1 influenza A virus that can be found in birds and mammals including humans, is a new genetic reassortment of influenza viruses. The virus, which was first identified in U.S. pigs during 2004, is not generally transmissible between birds and humans.
Earlier this year, in the months of March and April 2006, researchers had isolated H3N1 viruses in pigs with respiratory diseases at two commercial swine farms in Korea.
Further testing confirmed that the H3N1 viruses were reassortments of an H3 human-like virus and other genes from swine influenza viruses and that pig-to-pig and farm-to-farm transmissions had occurred. In addition to this an analysis of experimentally infected mice proved the potential to transmit the virus between pigs and other mammalian hosts.
The researchers added: "Given the evidence that pigs can support the reassortment of influenza viruses from humans and other species, it is prudent that we enhance surveillance for atypical influenza viruses in pigs as part of overall pandemic preparedness efforts."