Novel Influenza Viruses
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Novel Influenza A
On April 1, 2013, the World Health Organization
(WHO) the first confirmed human infections with a new influenza
A (H7N9) virus in China. The first onset of illness was on
February 19, 2013. Up-to-date case counts and resources can be
found at the WHO and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) links below. All cases to date have been located in China.
The Florida Department of Health (DOH) continues to closely
monitor the avian influenza A H7N9 outbreak in China, as well as
the ongoing avian influenza H5N1 outbreak in Asia, Africa and
Oceania, and any other emerging zoonotic influenza viruses in
coordination with the CDC and other partners. More information
will be posted as it becomes available.
The H7N9 virus is a kind of influenza found in birds, also known
as an avian influenza virus. Avian influenza viruses go through
genetic changes over time, and sometimes these genetic changes
result in a new (novel) strain that can infect humans, swine and
other animals. Human infections with other strains of avian
influenza (AI, or bird flu) are rare but have occurred in the
past, and include the avian influenza H5N1 that has been
circulating in various parts of the world since 1996 but which
also has not been found in the US.
While novel influenza A H7N9 has been
associated with severe respiratory illness and death, it is
important to note that
- There is no evidence that novel influenza A H7N9 is capable of
sustained person-to-person transmission.
In its current form, novel influenza A H7N9 does not spread
widely among people.
- There is no evidence of novel influenza A H7N9 infection in the
United States or any countries other than China.
There are no current advisories for travelers going to China,
but travelers are advised to stay away from live animal markets
and avoid close contact with birds and swine. The same advice
holds true when traveling to countries where H5N1 is present.
For more information, please see the following links:
WHO H7N9 frequently asked questions:
CDC H7N9 information page:
CDC General avian influenza page:
CDC Health Advisory for Human Infections with Novel Influenza A
(H7N9) Viruses, April 5, 2013:
Click here for
DOH H7N9 Outbreak Press Release (PDF)
Swine Influenza, Pigs, and
Pigs, like people, can be
infected by influenza viruses. These are called swine influenza
viruses while influenza viruses found regularly in people are
referred to as seasonal influenza or flu viruses. There are
multiple strains of swine influenza viruses present in the U.S.
in both domestic and wild pigs, just as there are multiple
strains of seasonal flu viruses in people. Generally the
influenza viruses found in pigs are passed between pigs, and
those in people are spread to other people. However, these
slightly different types of viruses can occasionally spread from
pigs to people, or from people to pigs. When this happens there
is a rare chance that a new, sometimes more dangerous virus for
people or pigs might develop. Both swine and human influenza
viruses are most common in winter and cause similar symptoms of
fever, sore throat, coughing, nasal discharge, sneezing and
difficulty breathing. Both people and pigs can spread influenza
viruses by coughing and sneezing. Infected pigs and people are
both most contagious to others when they are most ill; therefore
it is important to avoid close contact (being within 6 ft) of
ill pigs and ill people. To prevent infection with either human or
swine influenza viruses:
People who are ill should avoid close
contact with swine and people.
Avoid close contact with people or swine
with signs of respiratory disease (fever, coughing, nasal
discharge, sneezing, difficulty breathing).
Practice good respiratory etiquette by
covering your cough (and sneeze).
Wash hands frequently with soap and
water, especially before touching eyes, nose, or mouth.
Stay up to date with seasonal influenza
Contact your physician if you develop
symptoms of influenza.
Report swine with signs of respiratory
disease to state and federal animal health officials: Florida
Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS)
State Veterinarian's office: 850-410-0900; USDA office
352-313-3060; 24 hour toll-free number 877-815-0034 or via
The H1N1 influenza virus of
swine origin currently in the news is suspected to be a new
virus, and is being spread person to person rather than from
pigs to people.
FDACS and FDOH Novel Influenza FAQ's
Current information on the
novel H1N1 (formerly Swine Flu) event from CDC can be found at:
Buenos hábitos de salud para la prevención (CDC Español/Spanish
H1N1/Swine Influenza information)
Buenos hábitos de salud para la prevención Hoja informativa (CDC
Español/Spanish H1N1/Swine Influenza Fact Sheet):
Canadian pigs infected with novel H1N1 from a
Español/Spanish novel H5N1Influenza porcina
CDC Interim Guidance for
Workers who are Employed at Commercial Settings:
Florida Department of Health Veterinary Influenza Information
Influenza - Pigs, People and Public Health
Fact Sheet (PDF)
For questions regarding
swine influenza surveillance programs for pig farmers in pigs in
FL, call FDACS Animal Industry 850-410-0900, and for general
information visit their webpage at:
Feral or Free-Ranging Swine
Practice good sanitation
when handling feral swine or raw feral swine meat, they can
carry a number of infectious organisms including bacteria and
parasites such as Brucella and Trichinella. To protect against
these and other agents (including viruses):
Avoid eating, drinking or using tobacco
when field-dressing or handling carcasses.
Use latex or rubber gloves when handling
the carcass or raw meat.
Avoid direct contact with blood,
reproductive organs and fecal matter. Wearing long sleeves,
eye protection and covering any scratches, open wounds or
lesions will help provide protection.
Clean and disinfect knives, cleaning
area, clothing and any other exposed surfaces when finished.
Wash hands frequently with soap and
Cook meat from these animals to 160º F or
until juices run clear
The safety regulations for
handling feral or free-ranging swine are similar to precautions
recommended for handling wild birds:
Florida Department of Health Information Page
Avian Influenza FAQs
Influenza Points (PDF)
Avian Influenza (PDF)
Guidelines for Safe Handling of Birds, Dead or Alive
United States Department of Agriculture Be Food Safe Resources -
Brochure (PDF 661 KB)
(PDF 661 KB)
(PDF 3.9 MB)
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services-
Division of Animal Industry
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission- Includes
information for hunters
USGS National Wildlife Health Center
United States Department of Agriculture
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)