Swine flu monitoring needed for farm workers, study says

Feb 11, 2008

A University of Alberta study recommends that workers on pig farms be monitored as part of influenza pandemic preparedness, after a child on a communal farm in Canada was diagnosed with swine flu in 2006.

Though the seven-month-old boy made a full recovery, health researchers were concerned because of evidence that the virus spread to other members of the multi-family community, who, fortunately, all demonstrated mild or no apparent illness. It has been known for a long time that avian and swine strains of flu can spread to humans, with avian strains appearing to be more dangerous than swine strains; as of late 2007, the avian flu had killed 194 people in 321 cases reported worldwide.

Of the 90 people on the farm tested by the University of Alberta and a team of other researchers with provincial and federal health agencies, 54 were tested for positivity to the flu strain, thought to be of swine origin. Besides the baby boy, four of seven other household members and four of 46 other people living on the farm tested positive. The strain of flu was also detected in one of 10 young pigs on the farm. The child apparently had no direct contact with the swine.

“The concern is that swine viral strains could adapt into a form that results in efficient human-to-human transmission,” said Dr. Joan L. Robinson, a professor at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, a pediatrician at the Stollery Children’s Hospital, and lead author of the study, which was published recently in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. Swine flu in humans is “under-recognized in Canada, but it has the capacity to become a problem,” she added. “Early recognition that swine strains are becoming more virulent might expedite both implementation of ideal infection control precautions for symptomatic cases and vaccine development.”

Rather than workers on livestock farms being responsible for recognizing their own flu symptoms, there should be a public health program in place that leads to specific measures if an unexpected number or severity of cases of flu-like illness occur in swine workers. No health program targeting swine workers currently exists, Robinson notes.

Source: University of Alberta

Explore further: Flu season, early again, hitting hard in South and Midwest

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Half of health workers reject swine flu shot

Aug 25, 2009

(AP) -- About half of Hong Kong's health workers would refuse the swine flu vaccine, new research says, a trend that experts say would likely apply worldwide. In a study that polled 2,255 Hong Kong health workers this year, ...

Goldman Sachs, Citigroup got swine flu vaccine

Nov 05, 2009

(AP) -- Some of New York's biggest companies, including Wall Street giants Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, received doses of swine flu vaccine for at-risk employees, drawing criticism that the hard-to-find vaccine ...

Swine flu vaccine met with a big dose of skepticism

Oct 15, 2009

Brian LaVane, owner of Huntington Stamp and Coin, a hub for local collectors, has avoided seasonal flu shots for decades, but now he's weighing whether to be immunized against H1N1, the swine flu.

Health care workers often shun flu shot

Sep 18, 2009

Every year, top U.S. health officials send out widely publicized reminders to get vaccinated against seasonal flu. And every year, more than 60 percent of the public looks the other way, deciding against the shots either ...

Recommended for you

Liberia holds Senate vote amid Ebola fears

31 minutes ago

Health workers manned polling stations across Liberia on Saturday as voters cast their ballots in a twice-delayed Senate vote that has been criticized for its potential to spread the deadly Ebola disease.

Evidence-based recs issued for systemic care in psoriasis

20 hours ago

(HealthDay)—For appropriately selected patients with psoriasis, combining biologics with other systemic treatments, including phototherapy, oral medications, or other biologic, may result in greater efficacy ...

Bacteria in caramel apples kills at least four in US

21 hours ago

A listeria outbreak believed to originate from commercially packaged caramel apples has killed at least four people in the United States and sickened 28 people since November, officials said Friday.

Steroid-based treatment may answer needs of pediatric EoE patients

21 hours ago

A new formulation of oral budesonide suspension, a steroid-based treatment, is safe and effective in treating pediatric patients with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), according to a new study in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the official clinical practice journal ...

Discovery of genes that predispose a severe form of COPD

23 hours ago

A study by Ramcés Falfán-Valencia, researcher at the National Institute of Respiratory Diseases (INER), found that the mestizo Mexican population has a number of variations in certain genes that predispose ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.