7. SWINE FLU
Swine flu is the popular name for influenza (flu) caused by a relatively new strain of influenza virus A (89). Swine flu affects pigs. It was responsible for the flu pandemic in 2009 and 2010 when the virus jumped from animals into people, and then spread rapidly around the world. It spread rapidly from country to country because it was a new type of flu virus then that few people were immune to. Since then it has joined the pantheon of other types of flu that lead to outbreaks every winter. In February 2016, over seven days, 31 outbreaks of swine flu were reported in Britain – including eight in hospitals. It was also reported that three wards of Leicester's Royal Infirmary closed after 14 cancer patients were diagnosed with swine flu (90). In 2016, deaths have also been reported in countries such as the West Indies – Jamaica has recorded its fourth swine flu-related death in three weeks (91, 92), Mexico (93), India (94), and Northern Ireland (95).
Flu viruses commonly infect pigs and pig herds, and can result in high rates of illness among pigs, but there are few deaths.
Signs of influenza in pigs include (96):
- Coughing (“barking”)
- High fevers
- Breathing difficulties
- Discharge from the nose
- Going off feed