Swine Influenza in Sub-Saharan Africa – Current Knowledge and Emerging Insights

Authors

  • C. Meseko,

    1. Virology Department, National Veterinary Research Institute, Vom, Nigeria
    2. Virology Department, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria
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  • D. Olaleye,

    1. Virology Department, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria
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  • I. Capua,

    1. OIE Reference Laboratory for Avian Influenza and Newcastle disease, OIE Collaborating Center for Diseases at the Human–Animal Interface, FAO Reference Laboratory for Animal Influenza and Newcastle Disease Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezia, Padova, Italy
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  • G. Cattoli

    Corresponding author
    1. OIE Reference Laboratory for Avian Influenza and Newcastle disease, OIE Collaborating Center for Diseases at the Human–Animal Interface, FAO Reference Laboratory for Animal Influenza and Newcastle Disease Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezia, Padova, Italy
    • Correspondence:

      G. Cattoli. OIE Reference Laboratory for Avian Influenza and Newcastle disease, OIE Collaborating Center for Diseases at the Human-Animal Interface, FAO Reference Laboratory for Animal Influenza and Newcastle Disease Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezia, Viale dell'Università 10 – 35020 Legnaro, Padova, Italy. Tel.: +39 0498084384; Fax: +39 0498084360; E-mail: gcattoli@izsvenezie.it

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Summary

Pigs have been associated with several episodes of influenza outbreaks in the past and are considered to play a significant role in the ecology of influenza virus. The recent 2009 pandemic influenza A/H1N1 virus originated from swine and not only did it cause widespread infection in humans, but was also transmitted back to swine in Asia, Europe and America. What may be the prevailing situation in Africa, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, with respect to the circulation of classical swine or pandemic influenza? The ecology of influenza viruses, as well as the epidemiology of human or animal influenza, is poorly understood in the region. In particular, little is known about swine influenza in Africa despite the relevance of this production in the continent and the widespread pig husbandry operations in urban and rural areas. In this review, the gap in the knowledge of classical and pandemic swine influenza is attributed to negligence of disease surveillance, as well as to the economic and public health impact that the disease may cause in sub-Saharan Africa. However, emerging serological and virological evidence of swine influenza virus in some countries in the region underscores the importance of integrated surveillance to better understand the circulation and epidemiology of swine influenza, a disease of global economic and public health importance.

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