Health and Wellness

American is hospitalized with SWINE FLU after touching infected pigs on farm in Pennsylvania, CDC reveals

A Pennsylvania resident is the first human to contract swine flu this year after coming into contact with infected pigs, the CDC revealed.

The health agency said a patient contracted the influenza A H1N2 variant that normally circulates in pigs. 

The infection, known as bird flu or swine flu, was detected in a person living near a pig farm in Pennsylvania who had direct contact with the animals.

The CDC reported the patient was hospitalized and has made a full recovery from their illness and there have been no reports of transmission of the virus among humans.

Influenza A is endemic among pigs but rarely infects humans. However, in 2009, a strain of influenza A caused a swine flu epidemic, infecting more than 59million Americans and killing thousands.  

Influenza A is endemic among pigs and occasionally infects humans (stock photo)

While this is the first reported in 2024, the US may see a handful of swine flu cases annually, with at least three H1N2 infections in 2023 – though it is rare.

Two of those patients had attended different agricultural fairs in Michigan and had direct exposure to pigs. 

A third was a child from Montana who had visited a fair. 

There are several strains of influenza A – swine flu – including H1N2 and the 2009 epidemic-causing H1N1. 

Infections rarely spread from animal to person, but the 2009 outbreak was the product of the virus mutating to become capable of infecting humans and causing illness.

People can catch swine flu from contact with infected pigs directly and the strains that infect humans are often blends of avian, swine and human flu viruses.

The symptoms of swine flu are similar to those of other influenza viruses and include fever, aches, chills, cough, headache, nausea and fatigue. But cases are normally mild and clear up on their own in a few weeks with little risk of death.

The driver of the 2009 swine flu epidemic was a strain of H1N1 that had combined bird, swine and human influenza A viruses.

The outbreak disproportionately affected children and teens who were more susceptible to illness so severe it required hospitalization.

A report from the World Health Organization found in that year, the number of infections in the US reached 59 million with 265,000 hospitalized and 12,000 dead.

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