Make your home page

CDC reports two humans infected with swine flu viruses

(WISH Photo/Reece Lindquist)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH)– The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported the first two U.S. human infections with swine flu viruses in 2023.

According to the CDC, infections were caused by two different types of flu viruses that normally spread among pigs, and they occurred in two people who attended different agricultural fairs in Michigan and had exposure to pigs.

“Every year, there are rare sporadic human infections with flu viruses that usually spread in pigs. When found in people, these are called “variant flu virus” infections and designated with the letter “v” after the subtype. Variant flu virus infections are usually associated with contact with pigs, often at agricultural fairs,” said the CDC in a media release

“While infections with swine influenza viruses usually cause mild illness, they are concerning because they can cause severe illness, especially in people at higher risk of serious flu complications, and because of their pandemic potential. These infections are fully investigated to be sure that such viruses are not spreading in an efficient and ongoing way in people, and to limit further exposure of people to infected animals if infected animals are identified.”

According to the release, the patients (whose infections are not linked to one another) caught different strains at separate fairs last month, where they were exposed to infected pigs. Both patients experienced mild illness, and there is no signs they spread it to others. 

“People should take additional protective measures if they must come into contact with pigs that are known or suspected to be sick. This includes minimizing contact time with pigs and wearing personal protective equipment like protective clothing, gloves, and well-fitted masks that cover the mouth and nose when contact is required.” said the CDC

A major swine flu outbreak was triggered in 2009 after a mutated version of the virus (strain H1N1) spilled over into humans. In the end, about one in five people globally became infected. For the US, there were estimated to have been about 60 million cases, alongside 275,000 hospitalizations and 12,000 deaths.