We are still watching this influenza steadily spread to more states. (I’m still wondering how it spread to Hawaii) The fact that it’s on a steady progression has put it on our daily “watch list”. The latest cases in Minnesota have apparently spooked Canadian officials to acknowledge the problem. There have been many more human cases but no indication that it’s spreading from human to human. Here’s some article snippets, with links at the end.
“On Monday, Minnesota joined Wisconsin, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Maryland, Indiana, Illinois and Hawaii to report human cases in the past month. Cases were also seen last year and this spring in Maine, Iowa and Utah.
“I think veterinary public health and human public health have done far too much to reassure the public that the methods taken at the fairs are going to substantially impact this transmission,” says Osterholm.
“I think we have to be up front and honest about that. Does this mean this is potentially significant public health event? We don’t know that. We have to be careful.”
“To spark a pandemic, an influenza virus in another species must evolve the ability to infect humans and then spread quickly. So far, we believe those who contracted swine flu this year to have been infected by pigs at agricultural fairs; transmission between humans has not yet been reported. Several developments have made this more likely to occur, though — including the serious threats introduced by the industrialization of food animal production, which selects for genes that may allow influenza viruses to reach pandemic proportions.”
TORONTO — It’s been found in pigs or people in more than 10 U.S. states and counting. In less than a month, more than 200 people — most young children — have been infected by an unwanted visitor to many of the state and county fairs that are held at this time of year.
Michael Osterholm says it’s time to take what likely would be a very unpopular step — tell organizers that this year, pigs should stay home from the fair.
“I’m convinced that wherever you have pigs and fairs right now you’re seeing this transmission — at least in North America,” says Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Diseases Research and Policy. “These pigs shouldn’t be at the fairs.”
Dr. John Spika of the Public Health Agency of Canada says both his agency and CFIA are planning to beef up surveillance for the virus. “You almost have to assume that it’s here in Canada, given that it’s just across the border,” says Spika, director general for the centre for immunization and respiratory infectious diseases at the Public Health Agency.