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Cambodia swine flu strains raise pandemic concerns
Researchers found reverse zoonoses of H1N1/2009 pandemic virus.

Researchers found 72 pigs with influenza A virus.

The discovery of 72 pigs with swine influenza A virus (swIAV) in Cambodia has raised concern about the virus’ zoonotic risks.

The researchers believe that increased swine production, as well as the global trade of pigs, could increase the transmission and zoonotic capabilities of this outbreak.

The findings were discovered as part of an investigation intended to increase understanding of how influenza A viruses evolve among pigs in Southeast Asia.

Influenza A is widely recognised to cause significant morbidity and mortality amongst swine and humans. In 2009, the UK saw a swine flu pandemic that resulted in hundreds of deaths.

The virus was spread through the air, when those who were infected coughed, sneezed, breathed or talked.

The research states that influenza A viruses are a key part of the ecosystem which results in viral emergence and zoonotic diseases. Pigs especially are considered to be drivers in the emergence of influenza viruses that cross species boundaries.

In order to gain a better understanding of swIAV landscape in Southeast Asia, the researchers collected more than 4,000 nasal swabs from pigs in Cambodia between March 2020 and July 2022.

The samples were taken from 18 pig slaughterhouses in Cambodia, across four neighbouring provinces.

Analysis discovered that 72 of the pigs that were sampled tested positive for influenza A virus.

Phylogeographic reconstruction identified that south central China was the main source of swine viruses in China and Southeast Asia.

They also discovered nine swIAV lineages in Cambodia, which highlighted previously undetected diversity in the region.

This included reverse zoonoses of the human H1N1/2009 pandemic and H3N2 viruses.

The researchers say that the repeated reintroduction and reassortment of these lineages heighten the pandemic risk.

They say that the rapid growth of pork consumption, combined with the significant impact of several pig diseases including influenza and African swine fever, means that it is vital to conduct routine and sustained surveillance of pigs to identify new viruses and their zoonotic risks.

They state that current methods of disease surveillance are not fit for purpose, and better methods are needed to monitor zoonotic risks.

The research was conducted by researchers at the Duke-National University of Singapore Medical School, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the National Animal Health and Production Research Institute in Cambodia.

The full study can be found in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal.

Image © Shutterstock

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Charities' XL bully neutering scheme closes

News Story 1
 A scheme that helped owners of XL bully dogs with the cost of neutering has closed to new applications due to high demand.

The scheme, run by the RSPCA, Blue Cross, and Battersea, has helped 1,800 dogs and their owners after XL bullies were banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act.

In England and Wales, owners of XL bully dogs which were over one year old on 31 January 2021 have until 30 June 2024 to get their dog neutered. If a dog was between seven months and 12 months old, it must be neutered by 31 December 2024. If it was under seven months old, owners have until 30 June 2025.

More information can be found on the Defra website. 

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News Shorts
Avian flu cattle outbreak spreads to tenth US state

Cattle in two dairy herds in Iowa have tested positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), making it the tenth state in the USA to be affected by the ongoing outbreak of the disease in cattle.

Since March 2024, more than 80 herds across the USA have been affected by the virus and three dairy workers have tested positive. Authorities have introduced measures to limit the spread of the virus and farmers have been urged to strengthen their biosecurity protocols.

Mike Naig, Iowa secretary of agriculture, said: "Given the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza within dairy cattle in many other states, it is not a surprise that we would have a case given the size of our dairy industry in Iowa.

"While lactating dairy cattle appear to recover with supportive care, we know this destructive virus continues to be deadly for poultry."