H1N2 influenza is known to occur in swine herds around the world. It is an infectious respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses. This is not a food-borne illness associated with eating pork.
Some pigs infected with influenza may not show any signs of illness at all; however, more typically, signs of H1N2 influenza in pigs can include:
- coughing (barking)
- breathing difficulties
- eye redness or inflammation and
- not eating
How to report
If H1N2 influenza is suspected or confirmed in your herd, call your veterinarian immediately.
H1N2 influenza is a provincially notifiable disease. Veterinarians must report all suspected or confirmed cases to the Office of the Chief Provincial Veterinarian (OCPV) within 24 hours:
Risk to humans
H1N2v is rare and the spread of infection between humans is very rare. Human infections with H1N2v usually result in mild respiratory illness, with symptoms similar to those seen with seasonal influenza. Most people will have uncomplicated influenza and recover from the flu within a week or 10 days, but some are at greater risk of developing more severe complications, such as pneumonia. Swine influenza viruses are not transmissible to people through eating pork meat or other products that come from pigs.
How it spreads to humans
H1N2 influenza viruses do not normally infect people; however, there have been infrequent human infections from these viruses. Cases usually occur following direct or indirect exposure to pigs. This is not a food-borne illness associated with eating pork.
Prevention and control
Farm owners, farm family members, farm workers, and those in contact with pigs should protect themselves from animal-related influenzas by frequent handwashing.
They should also:
- avoid close contact with pigs that look or act ill
- take protective measures if they must come in contact with pigs that are known or suspected to be sick. This includes wearing personal protective equipment like protective clothing, gloves and masks that cover the mouth and nose when contact is required.
Individuals with flu-like symptoms should:
- avoid contact with livestock, particularly sick animals
- contact their physician for more information
Anyone who works with livestock can also protect their animals by following sound biosecurity practices, including:
- controlling movements of people, animals, equipment and vehicles on their property
- observing animals daily for signs of disease
- calling a veterinarian if animals appear to be sick.
H1N2 influenza status and updates
- October 29, 2020: the Alberta government notified the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) of one confirmed case of variant influenza A(H1N2)v in Alberta. This currently appears to be an isolated case and, while this investigation is ongoing, the current assessment is that there is no increased risk to people at this time. PHAC reported this case to the World Health Organization, in accordance with the International Health Regulations.
- November 3, 2020: Alberta Agriculture and Forestry began an additional investigation of the operation and the results are expected very soon.
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