Several cases of pig-to-human and human-to-pig transmission of the seasonal flu have been documented but it's mostly in agricultural settings, added Dr. John Treanor, director of the infectious diseases division at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York.
In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Wednesday that it had detected H1N1 in a commercial herd of pigs in Indiana, the AP reported. Again, both the pigs and the humans caring for them recovered from the flu, the news agency said.
According to Olsen, the livestock industry already has elaborate biosecurity precautions in place -- everything from asking about workers' health, to protective clothing, to having employees shower before entering or leaving a facility.
Although it's called the swine flu, the H1N1 virus is no longer really a pig virus. "This has been a human-adapted virus since we first recognized it in the early spring of this year," Olsen said, adding, "You absolutely cannot get it from what you eat."
And dog and cat owners don't need to take any extra precautions when it comes to the H1N1 flu, even though there have been instances of animals contracting, and sometimes even passing on, the regular seasonal flu.
Ferrets, for instance, are generally susceptible to the seasonal flu, and the AP reported Wednesday that H1N1 infection has been confirmed in two ferrets, one in Nebraska and the other in Oregon.
"Not only can they be infected with the flu but they are clearly able to transmit the flu back to people," Treanor said. "This is how flu viruses were first discovered. They [researchers] were looking at what the cause of flu would be, back in England in the 1930s, and noticed when they infected ferrets with material from the flu lab, workers got the flu from the ferrets. That led to the discovery of the influenza as the cause of flu."
Olsen added: "There
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