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Swine Barn Workers Encouraged to Get Vaccinated to Protect Pigs from the Flu

An Associate Professor with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine is encouraging people involved in swine production to protect their pigs by getting the annual flu shot. With the further relaxation of restrictions in Canada designed to reduce the spread of COVID, patterns of influenza infection are expected to return to more normal this year, as was experienced in the United States last year.

Dr. Susan Detmer, an Associate Professor with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, says this year's flu vaccine should be especially effective.

Clip-Dr. Susan Detmer-Western College of Veterinary Medicine:

For the first time in a very long time, certainly within my lifetime, we have the best chance of the vaccine matching what is circulating in the population.Last year experts had a 50-50 shot. They had two H3N2 viruses to choose from and they picked the wrong one.

There was some circulation of that H3N2 but what dominated, what was more than 80 percent of what was seen out there world wide was this other strain of H3N2. This year that one is in the vaccine and so what we're seeing already this fall is 70 to 80 percent of what's circulating is that H3N2 and that is in the vaccine so that's a good match.

We also have the H1N1, so at least 20 percent of what's circulating right now is the evolution of the 2009 pandemic H1N1 and that H1N1 is still circulating in the human population as well as the Yamagata lineage influenza-B.

All of those are in the influenza vaccine so we fully expect to have good coverage with the vaccine this year.

Dr. Detmer says, while some of the H1N1 circulating among pigs is from years ago, almost half of what is seen annually comes from people and she expects the H1N1 circulating among people to get back into pigs this winter.
She says the annual flu shot will protect people from serious infections and help break the cycle where the virus moves back and forth between the two populations.

Source : Farmscape.ca

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