Swine Influenza is a disease of pigs caused by a virus (influenza virus). Influenza viruses exist as different types and the most common type of virus found in pigs is Type A.

Mixing vessels

The virus is present in all pig producing countries including the UK and is considered endemic in the pig population. Type A strains can infect other species, including people. However, the strains of the virus involved are usually different.

Pigs have been described as ‘mixing vessels’ for the various influenza virus strains (including the strains causing avian influenza). This means that they may have a role in the spread of influenza viruses between species or in the development of new strains of virus.

What are the symptoms?

Clinical signs of the disease may include;

  • dullness
  • fever
  • coughing
  • breathlessness with often a rapid recovery

Swine influenza is often seen in combination with other diseases.
Pig farmers are encouraged to be vigilant for unusual signs of respiratory disease in pigs and to contact their Private Veterinary Practitioner (PVP) if they are concerned.

Pig Farmers are also reminded, as normal practice, to apply biosecurity and hygiene rules in order to reduce the risk that any virus enters a pig farm by means of movements of people, vehicles and any other material.
Further advice is contained in the Code of Practice agreed with Industry and DAERA.

Can Swine Influenza transmit to humans?

Swine influenza can occasionally transmit to humans, however this occurs rarely. Transmission usually occurs to people who have close contact with pigs. On rare occasions human-to-human transmission can occur.

Can people catch Swine Influenza from eating pork?

No. Swine influenza viruses are not transmitted by food. You cannot get swine influenza from eating pork or pork products. 

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For more information, please contact the Food Standards Agency general enquiries line on 028 9041 7700.


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