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Keywords:

  • Genetic characterization;
  • hemagglutinin;
  • influenza A virus;
  • pandemic;
  • swine

Background

Influenza A viruses circulating in pigs in Brazil are still not characterized, and only limited data are available about swine influenza epidemiology in the country. Therefore, we characterized the hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) genes of influenza viruses isolated from Brazilian pigs. We also evaluated one case of probable swine-to-human transmission.

Methods

Twenty influenza viruses isolated from pigs during 2009–2010 in five Brazilian states (Minas Gerais, Sao Paulo, Parana, Rio Grande do Sul, and Mato Grosso) were used. One human isolate, from a technician who became ill after visiting a swineherd going through a respiratory disease outbreak, was also used in the study. Phylogenetic analysis for the HA and NA genes and hemagglutinin amino acid sequence alignment were performed.

Results

All isolates clustered with pandemic H1N1 2009 (pH1N1) viruses and appeared to have a common ancestor. Genetic diversity was higher in the HA than in the NA gene, and the amino acid substitution S203T in one of HA's antigenic sites was found in most of the samples. The human isolate was more related to swine isolates from the same herd visited by the technician than to other human isolates, suggesting swine-to-human transmission.

Conclusion

Our results show that pH1N1 was disseminated and the predominant subtype in Brazilian pigs in 2009–2010.