Influenza (Flu) in Animals
Influenza viruses are clinically and economically important agents of disease in people, horses, pigs, marine mammals and poultry. Human influenza results from infection with influenza A, B or C viruses and a wide variety of domestic and free-ranging wild animal species can be infected with influenza A viruses. Aquatic birds are the natural hosts of influenza A viruses and represent a vast, global reservoir of influenza genes. Just as there is for humans, there is a flu for birds, horses, pigs and marine mammals and, as with people, some forms of the flu are worse than others.
Influenza in Swine
Influenza in swine is common and often only causes minor clinical signs of illness in pigs. Like humans, there is a flu season for pigs. Type A influenza viruses are common in birds and mammals, including pigs and humans. By monitoring and studying influenza viruses in swine, e.g., v.H3N2 and pH1N1, we can learn more about them so that better tools to diagnose them and vaccines can be developed as well as learn if a particular novel virus has evolved into a potential public health threat.
As part of the National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza, which includes both avian influenza and human pandemic preparedness, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) works with its partners on the international and domestic fronts to help control the spread of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza. Learn more about avian influenza and what you can do to protect poultry.