Influenza A/H1N1 virus - Old and new Academic Article uri icon


  • Swine influenza is a disease known since 1918. Four decades Later, scientists were already isolating the disease-causing agent and learning more about its ability to infect humans. Generally, swine influenza viruses, similarly to avian influenza viruses, do not easily infect humans; however, the viruses' ability to undergo substantial genetic re-assortment enhances the emergence of novel influenza viruses, better capable of infecting and transmitting between humans. Pigs also form good "mixing vessels" for human and avian origin influenza viruses, enabling the emergence of highly virulent influenza strains. Human infection with swine influenza has been recorded in the past, both as sporadic infections and as outbreaks. The best known human swine influenza outbreak took place in Fort Dix (USA) in 1976, concluding in the immunization of almost 45 million U.S. citizens, in a highly controversial immunization program. The current H1N1 (S-OIV) Influenza outbreak was declared by the WHO as an influenza pandemic, setting to rest the lately popular question "when will the next pandemic occur?" and laying the foundations for the evaluation of preparedness plans. There is great importance in data collection and subsequent updating of current procedures and doctrines.

publication date

  • August 1, 2009