H1N1 Swine flu reached pandemic in 2009. The origins of this virus stems from the virus given the ability to change into a triple hybrid ensuring its spread. The rapid growth of intensive farming in the USA has contributed to the virus life cycle and this pandemic should have been predicted.
We are all aware that there are epidemics of influenza every year and sometimes the annual flu vaccines don’t help. The Influenza virus is very capable of evolving and changing its identity. These changes are further amplified when the virus mixes with other animal strains, as we have seen, we have little protection and an epidemic goes global resulting in a pandemic. This is exactly what has happened to H1N1 virus (swine flu), with it becoming a triple hybrid of pig / human / bird flu virus. The virus may have been given reservoirs to grow and change due to human farming methods.
In June 2009 the World Health Organization (1) determined that the spread of Influenza H1N1 virus was now a pandemic, since then the number of UK deaths has reached 474 (2), while worldwide deaths peaked at 14286 (3).
The swine flu pandemic has been over for a number of months now and there have been no reported cases in recent weeks (2). The question though remains: have there been enough warnings from recent history to have foreseen and prevented this pandemic?
In 1998 the genetic fingerprints of this virus have been isolated in Carolina pig farms, with 6 out of 8 viral gene segments of the current virus originating from these farms (4). Dr. Robert Webster of the World Health Organization reported that the triple reassortment in pigs is the precursor to the virus we see today. It is known that in 1998 the Carolina pig population had increased to 10 million from only 2 million six years earlier, whilst the number of pig farms were reducing. The result is overcrowding pigs into farms by over 25 times (4), this has been shown... [continues]
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