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Respiratory Illness in a Piggery Associated with the First Identified Outbreak of Swine Influenza in Australia: Assessing the Risk to Human Health and Zoonotic Potential

1
Department of Microbiology, PathWest Laboratory Medicine WA, Nedlands, WA 6009, Australia
2
Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Western Australia, Nedlands, WA 6009, Australia
3
World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza, at The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, Melbourne, VIC 3000, Australia
4
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Melbourne, at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, Melbourne, VIC 3000, Australia
5
Sustainability and Biosecurity, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Perth, WA 6151, Australia
6
Communicable Disease Control Directorate, Department of Health Western Australia, Perth, WA 6004, Australia
7
School of Veterinary Medicine, Murdoch University, Perth, WA 6150, Australia
8
CSIRO Australian Animal Health Laboratory, Geelong, VIC 3219, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2019, 4(2), 96; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed4020096
Received: 17 May 2019 / Revised: 19 June 2019 / Accepted: 24 June 2019 / Published: 25 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue One Health and Zoonoses)
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Abstract

Australia was previously believed to be free of enzootic swine influenza viruses due strict quarantine practices and use of biosecure breeding facilities. The first proven Australian outbreak of swine influenza occurred in Western Australian in 2012, revealing an unrecognized zoonotic risk, and a potential future pandemic threat. A public health investigation was undertaken to determine whether zoonotic infections had occurred and to reduce the risk of further transmission between humans and swine. A program of monitoring, testing, treatment, and vaccination was commenced, and a serosurvey of workers was also undertaken. No acute infections with the swine influenza viruses were detected. Serosurvey results were difficult to interpret due to previous influenza infections and past and current vaccinations. However, several workers had elevated haemagglutination inhibition (HI) antibody levels to the swine influenza viruses that could not be attributed to vaccination or infection with contemporaneous seasonal influenza A viruses. However, we lacked a suitable control population, so this was inconclusive. The experience was valuable in developing better protocols for managing outbreaks at the human–animal interface. Strict adherence to biosecurity practices, and ongoing monitoring of swine and their human contacts is important to mitigate pandemic risk. Strain specific serological assays would greatly assist in identifying zoonotic transmission. View Full-Text
Keywords: influenza; swine; Australia; human; pandemic influenza; swine; Australia; human; pandemic
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Smith, D.W.; Barr, I.G.; Loh, R.; Levy, A.; Tempone, S.; O’Dea, M.; Watson, J.; Wong, F.Y.K.; Effler, P.V. Respiratory Illness in a Piggery Associated with the First Identified Outbreak of Swine Influenza in Australia: Assessing the Risk to Human Health and Zoonotic Potential. Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2019, 4, 96.

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