In late December, researchers found that Flu viruses discovered among pigs in China appeared able to spread in humans and have the potential to cause another pandemic. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America wrote their finding suggests “immediate action is needed to prevent the efficient transmission” of such viruses to humans.

The last time a different strain of swine flu – H1N1 – hit the U.S. at epic proportions, it infected nearly 61 million people, killing 12,469 from April 2009 to April 2010,according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Though vaccines to prevent flu in pigs do exist, authors of the report say they generally aren’t used in China, which produces the world’s largest supply of pork. In December, CDC reported that about 40 percent of adults and children had been vaccinated for the flu as of November 5th.  This year’s flu vaccine protects against H1N1, but not the viruses focused on the one researcher’s have recently found. “Seasonal flu vaccines typically are not designed to protect against swine influenza viruses,” says Dr. Joe Bresee, chief of the epidemiology and prevention branch in the CDC’s Influenza Division. Due to this, researchers in China think that the public should be made aware of this potential risk.

 

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