posted on May, 3 2009 @ 03:40 PM
Swine Flu May Merge with Other Flu Viruses, CDC Says (Update1)
By Tom Randall
May 3 (Bloomberg) -- Swine flu’s potential to reconfigure its genetic material and become more deadly is a “major concern,” said Anne Schuchat,
a scientist with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Pigs are an ideal breeding ground for new forms of the flu, including the new virus threatening pandemic with infections confirmed in 30 U.S. states
and 19 countries, Schuchat said. The running hypothesis among scientists has been that the birth of the new flu -- a combination of four strains of
flu from swine, birds and humans -- occurred in the body of a pig.
Canadian health officials yesterday reported the world’s first case of the swine flu jumping to pigs from a human, probably after a farm worker in
the province of Alberta became ill during a trip to Mexico. Additional gene reassortment has the potential to change the makeup of the disease,
“The prospect of reassortment is always there with influenza,” Schuchat said in a conference call today. The CDC is especially concerned that the
new flu, already a risk of causing sickness and death worldwide, may mutate in human or pig populations, she said.
The infected pigs in Canada are recovering and there’s no need to cull herds worldwide, said Peter Ben Embarek, a food safety science with the WHO,
on a conference call today.
To contact the reporters on this story: Tom Randall in New York at email@example.com.
Last Updated: May 3, 2009 14:58 EDT