Please cite this paper as: Deng et al. (2012). Transmission of influenza A(H1N1) 2009 pandemic viruses in Australian swine. Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses 6(3), e42–e47.
Background Swine have receptors for both human and avian influenza viruses and are a natural host for influenza A viruses. The 2009 influenza A(H1N1) pandemic (H1N1pdm) virus that was derived from avian, human and swine influenza viruses has infected pigs in various countries.
Objectives To investigate the relationship between the H1N1pdm viruses isolated from piggery outbreaks in Australia and human samples associated with one of the outbreaks by phylogenetic analysis, and to determine whether there was any reassortment event occurring during the human-pig interspecies transmission.
Methods Real-time RT-PCR and full genome sequencing were carried out on RNA isolated from nasal swabs and/or virus cultures. Phylogenetic analysis was performed using the Geneious package.
Results The influenza H1N1pdm outbreaks were detected in three pig farms located in three different states in Australia. Further analysis of the Queensland outbreak led to the identification of two distinct virus strains in the pigs. Two staff working in the same piggery were also infected with the same two strains found in the pigs. Full genome sequence analysis on the viruses isolated from pigs and humans did not identify any reassortment of these H1N1pdm viruses with seasonal or avian influenza A viruses.
Conclusions This is the first report of swine infected with influenza in Australia and marked the end of the influenza-free era for the Australian swine industry. Although no reassortment was detected in these cases, the ability of these viruses to cross between pigs and humans highlights the importance of monitoring swine for novel influenza infections.