Swedish farmers contracted swine flu

Swedish farmers contracted swine flu
Swine flu can spread between pigs and humans. Photo: TT
A human strain of the swine flu virus normally only found in pigs was discovered in Sweden earlier this year, the country's Public Health Agency has revealed.
It is the first time that the virus is known to have transferred between animals and humans in the country.
The development was revealed by the Public Health Agency in Solna, Stockholm, which said that a number of cases of swine flu were discovered among pig farmers earlier this year.
“The farmers had no symptoms, but the pigs became sick. The flu originated in humans and then transferred to the pigs and back to the humans again,” said Mia Brytting, chief microbiologist at the agency.

She added that this particular flu strain (a variant of H1N2) was not among the most dangerous but said that monitoring the virus remained extremely important, because other mild viruses have gone on to cause epidemics.

The swine flu discovery was made thanks to a new gene mapping technique being tested by the agency, which also intends to use it in its monitoring of seasonal flu this winter.

The technique helps to detect influenza at an early stage. The agency hopes that this will assist research and reveal types of flu not currently covered by the standard seasonal vaccine that is currently available for people in Sweden who are seen to be most at risk from the virus, such as pensioners, children and those with breathing problems.

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