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FAO GUIDELINES FOR SURVEILLANCE OF PANDEMIC H1N1/2009 AND OTHER INFLUENZA VIRUSES IN SWINE POPULATIONS. Giancarlo Ferrari, Julio Pinto, Nick Honhold, Jim Zingeser, Gwenaelle Dauphin, Mia Kim, Klaas Dietze, Joseph Domenech and Juan Lubroth

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Giancarlo Ferrari, Julio Pinto, Nick Honhold, Jim Zingeser, Gwenaelle Dauphin, Mia Kim, Klaas Dietze, Joseph Domenech and Juan Lubroth

influenza a viruses
Influenza A viruses

Family of Orthomyxoviridae

Single stranded RNA (negative sense)

Classification based on Haemoagglutinin (HA – from H1 to H16) and Neuroaminidasis (NA – from N1 to N9)

influenza a viruses3
Influenza A viruses

The nucleic acid is composed by 8 distinct segments

Those 8 segments recognize gene tracts that encode for 10 different proteins

influenza a viruses4
Influenza A viruses

The HA gene encodes the haemagglutinin (HA)

The NA gene encodes the neuraminidase (NA)

The NP gene encodes the nucleoprotein (Influenza A, B, and C viruses have different nucleoproteins)

The M gene encodes two proteins: a matrix protein (M1) and an ion channel (M2) spanning the lipid bilayer

The NS gene encodes two different non-structural proteins (namely NS1 and NS2, also known as NEP). These are found in the cytoplasm of the infected cell but not within the virion itself

The remaining three segments (PA, PB1 and PB2) encode for each of the 3 corresponding subunits of the RNA polymerase (PA, PB1 and PB2)

influenza a viruses5
Influenza A viruses

Apparently a triple re-assortment (H3N2 human/avian/swine) was started to be observed early in 1997-1998 (Neumann G. et al, 2009; Smith G.J.D. et al, 2009; Nature, vol 459; 2009) which spread widely within North American pig population;

Co-circulation and mixing of this triple H3N2 re-assorted virus with well established swine lineages has generated further re-assorted H1N1 and H1N2 virus in pigs that sporadically have infected humans;

influenza a viruses6
Influenza A viruses

What is new with the novel type A H1N1 ?

The novel virus possess:

PB2 and PA genes of North America avian origin;

PB1 gene of a human H3N2 virus;

HA, NP and NS genes of classical swine virus origin;

NA and M genes of Eurasian avian-like swine origin

This combination of gene segments had never been observed before.

role of pigs
Role of pigs

Pigs may play an important role in the ecology of influenza virus as mixing vessels;

Determinants of host susceptibility (in humans and avian species) is the presence and distribution of specific acid sialic receptors for the HA protein of the influenza virus;

The two most common receptors are the SA2,6Gal (prevalent on epithelial cells of human trachea) and SA2,3Gal (prevalent on epithelial cells in the intestinal tract of waterfowl, main replication site of avian influenza viruses);

role of pigs8
Role of pigs

The reason why pigs are suggested to be a major mixing vessels of human and avian influenza virus is because they express high levels of both SA2,6Gal and SA2,3Gal in their upper respiratory epithelium;

If simultaneously infected with human influenza and avian influenza virus a re-assortment could occur between the two viruses resulting in a third new virus;

role of pigs9
Role of pigs

It is noteworthy to mention that the susceptibility of humans to Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N1 correlates to the expression of SA2,3Gal in bronchiole and alveolar type II cells in the lung (in fact in humans pneumonia is commonly seen and not an upper respiratory tract infection where those receptors are not present).

role of pigs10
Role of pigs

While the origin of the implicated virus is still a question mark there is ample evidence of human-to-human transmission and influenza viruses have the potential to be transmitted to pigs;

In this regard the first report of the pandemic A/H1N1 was from Canada

role of pigs11
Role of pigs

More recently the novel H1N1 has been identified in a pig farm in Argentina, Chile, Australia, Norway;

It has appeared plausible that pigs may have been acquired the infection for having been exposed to infected humans;

Information available so far suggest that the disease in pigs is mild.

role of pigs12
Role of pigs

Field observations and preliminary results of inoculation studies in pigs with the pandemic A/H1N1 strain done in the Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA) have shown that pigs are susceptible to the A/H1N1 virus and show typical signs of influenza;

No mortality was observed;

Peak shedding was noted mainly via nasopharyngeal route 3-5 days post infection;

Transmission to other pigs occurred.

guidelines for surveillance
Guidelines for surveillance
  • Drafted following investigation in Mexico in response to member country requests for guidance and in support of developing TCPs
  • Intended to be a dynamic document in support of the recommendations by OIE/FAO/WHO to strengthen surveillance of respiratory syndromes in pigs
  • Current limitations of guidelines include:
    • Guidance on what to do if virus is found – to be generated in concert with OIE
    • Other species not presently included
guidelines for surveillance14
Guidelines for surveillance

In general, most countries do not consider swine influenza virus infections as a high priority in relation to other animal and public health problems

There has been some increased pig and poultry surveillance activities, particularly in Europe and northern America

guidelines for surveillance15
Guidelines for surveillance

In relation to the occurrence of human cases

To demonstrate absence of the Pandemic H1N1/2009 virus in pigs

To detect the pandemic H1N1/2009 virus in swine in relation to respiratory syndromes

guidelines for surveillance16
Guidelines for surveillance
  • Epidemiologic unit vs individual unit of observation
    • Constituted by a group of pigs that are physically confined within the same space with frequent contact between any other animal present in this physical space
    • Shed vs pen vs yard
    • Individual units matching case definition to be sampled according to criteria indicated
guidelines for surveillance17
Guidelines for surveillance
  • Develop case definition
    • e.g. a cluster of clinical cases in pigs showing fever or sneezing or coughing or nasal or ocular discharge in at least one individual observation unit, developed within a one-week period and affecting at least 10% of the animals present in the unit
guidelines for surveillance18
Guidelines for surveillance
  • Pigs vs humans (or viceversa)
    • Epidemiological investigations of human cases of the Pandemic H1N1/2009 influenza virus by tracing back potential contact(s) with pig herds to investigate if pigs are infected
    • Veterinary and Public Health authorities should coordinate efforts at the national and local level to standardize epidemiological investigations at the animal-human interface
guidelines for surveillance19
Guidelines for surveillance
  • Pigs vs humans (or viceversa)
    • Contact with live animals is considered a risk factor
    • Consumption of pork products is not
    • Window period of exposure should be identified in order to optimize which holdings to be investigated (e.g. Mexico defined timely exposure as within 2 weeks preceding onset of symptoms)
guidelines for surveillance20
Guidelines for surveillance

Farms categorized as C1 or C2 are eligible for the collection of nasal swabs (for virological analysis)

If farm categorized as C3, would not eligible for immediate sampling but should be monitored for signs of respiratory disease

guidelines for surveillance21
Guidelines for surveillance
  • Pigs vs humans (or viceversa)
    • From farms categorized as C1 collect 20 samples from each observation unit with on-going clinical cases;
    • Should the overall number of pigs be less than 20 samples should be collected from all of them.
guidelines for surveillance22
Guidelines for surveillance
  • Pigs vs humans (or viceversa)
    • From farms categorized as C2 the sample size should be increased according to the criteria of being able to detect at least 1 case at 1% prevalence and 95% confidence level.
guidelines for surveillance23
Guidelines for surveillance
  • Pigs vs humans (or viceversa)
    • For pig farms falling in category C3 (and consequently not eligible for immediate sampling) a monitoring period should be initiated;
    • The starting date (time 0) for the follow-up will be the date of the visit, the end of the follow-up period will be the date of the visit + 14 days. During this period the pig farm should ideally be visited at least twice (i.e. weekly) to verify that there are no signs of respiratory disease developing;
    • Should cases of disease be detected consistent with the case definition used, the farm will be sampled according to the procedures already established in this document for category C1.
guidelines for surveillance24
Guidelines for surveillance
  • Surveillance in pigs
    • Targeted or active surveillance of pigs could be considered at slaughterhouses, abattoirs, and in some countries animal markets
    • Surveillance should be based in animals showing clinical respiratory signs (the assumption is that health events matching the case definition are reported to veterinary authorities)
guidelines for surveillance25
Guidelines for surveillance
  • Surveillance in pigs
    • Should occurrence of those cases being reported the farm should fall into category C1 and consequently sampling criteria should follow the same adopted in farms with on-going cases;
    • Up to 20 animals sampled for each observation unit
    • Where clinical cases exceed 20 animals, all samples collected from clinical cases
    • If fewer clinical cases, in-contact animals will also be sampled
guidelines for surveillance26
Guidelines for surveillance
  • Surveillance in pigs (to prove absence)
    • No official international requirements exist for recognition of countries, zones, compartments or individual farms as free from classical swine influenza viruses or from the Pandemic H1N1/2009 virus
    • Reference to the guidelines in Chapter 1.4.1 of the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code are recommended
guidelines for surveillance27
Guidelines for surveillance
  • Surveillance in pigs (to prove absence)
    • Target population
      • All pig farms in a country, zone or compartment. Pigs in slaughterhouses or markets also can be included.

- Sampling criteria

      • e.g. multistage random surveys adequate to detect at least 1% of prevalence if the virus is circulating with a 99% confidence
new challenges
New challenges

The One-World-One-Health approach recognizes the intimate linkages among the human, animal and ecosystem health domains (which appears to be the most appropriate for addressing issues such as Influenza A/H1N1 and more in general the issue of Influenza viruses);

It proposes an international, interdisciplinary, cross-sectoral approach to disease surveillance, monitoring, prevention, control and mitigation of emerging diseases, as well as to environmental conservation.

new challenges29
New challenges

The major lesson learned (from the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N1 but can be extended to other diseases) is the central importance of efficient surveillance, effective inter-sectoral collaboration, a well-designed national strategy and sustained political will.

new challenges30
New challenges

Where any of these elements has been absent or insufficient, countries have been less able to detect and control the spread of infection such as HPAI H5N1, with the result that in some countries the disease has become entrenched in poultry and thereby increasing the possibility of human infection.

new challenges31
New challenges

Should swine influenza be included among the list of notifiable diseases?

What should be done if detected in pigs?

Should the surveillance system for influenza viruses be seen as a multi-component system incorporating different animal species (including humans) under a single framework?