The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) reported that on January 29th, Spanish authorities notified a possible case of human infection with swine flu virus A(H1N1)v in a worker from a Catalan pig farm. After being diagnosed with bronchitis, subsequent laboratory analyses confirmed it as swine flu A(H1N1)v. The ECDC informs that the patient has fully recovered, and to date, no new cases have been detected among close contacts or among the worker's colleagues at the farm.
A review examines the role of domestic and semi-domestic animals, such as cats, in the emergence of potential zoonoses due to their close contact with humans. The paper, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, concludes that companion animal health risks will become increasingly problematic with climate change and rapid urbanisation.
An international group of scientists has studied epidemiological data since 2005 and more than 10,000 viral genomes to conclude that the epicentre of H5 avian influenza has shifted from Asia to parts of Africa and Europe. New lineages have emerged from these regions between 2020 and 2022, which evolved by genetic reassortment with low pathogenic viral variants as they spread. According to the authors, who publish their findings in the journal Nature, the increasing persistence of avian influenza in wild bird populations may be driving the evolution and spread of new strains.
Reactions: The lineage of the so-called 'swine flu' has passed from humans to pigs almost 400 times since 2009
Influenza A can cause influenza in humans, birds, pigs, and other mammals. In 2009 and 2010, a pandemic caused by the pdm09 strain—popularly called 'swine flu' because it contained genetic sequences from avian, swine, and human influenza—caused thousands of human deaths worldwide. Since then, this lineage has crossed over 370 times from humans to pigs in the United States, according to a study published in PLOS Pathogens. The research also indicates that the circulation of the virus among pigs may cause further evolutionary changes in this lineage, which would increase the risk of the virus passing back to humans.
Reactions: a protein is identified that prevents transmission and replication of avian influenza viruses in humans
Although outbreaks of H5N1 avian influenza have reached record numbers in recent years, human infections remain anecdotal. A study published today in Nature identifies a protein responsible for inhibiting the replication of this virus in humans, while 'human' flus are able to evade it. The authors propose that this protein with antiviral activity evolved in primates and consider that resistance or sensitivity to it should be taken into account when assessing the zoonotic potential of avian influenza viruses.
Outbreaks of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza have been increasing since 2021, but in recent months have evolved into what is known as a 'global panzootic' affecting all types of wild birds and new continents, but also mammals such as mink and sea lions. At a briefing organised by SMC Germany, in collaboration with SMC UK and SMC Spain, three experts discussed the situation, the level of risk and possible next steps.
Several media outlets are reporting cases of "camel flu" or MERS-CoV at the World Cup in Qatar, including three French national team players. However, no cases have been confirmed and the news reports speak of non-specific symptoms that could be due to any other infectious condition. This coronavirus, discovered in 2012, has a high case fatality rate and before the start of the competition, the WHO had already asked fans travelling to the country to watch out for possible symptoms.
The H5N1 virus that is causing an unprecedented epidemic among wild and domestic birds has a very low capacity to infect humans. The three cases where infection has been found have been due to close contact with dust raised during the handling of affected poultry.
On 27 September, the National Microbiology Centre detected a positive H5N1 avian influenza in a worker at a poultry farm in Guadalajara (Castilla-La Mancha). The sample was taken on the 23rd and the affected person remained asymptomatic until he tested negative, according to Animal's Health.
The National Microbiology Centre has confirmed the first positive human case of H5N1 avian influenza detected in Spain, Animal's Health said yesterday. This is the worker of a poultry farm located in the province of Guadalajara who remained asymptomatic and isolated until he tested negative. This is the second case detected in Europe after the UK declared its case in January this year.