Increased risk of A(H1N1)pdm09 influenza infection in UK pig industry workers compared to a general population cohort. uri icon


  • BackgroundPigs are mixing vessels for influenza viral reassortment, but the extent of influenza transmission between swine and humans is not well understood.
  • ConclusionThe results indicate that A(H1N1)pdm09 virus was common in UK pigs during the pandemic and subsequent period of human A(H1N1)pdm09 circulation, and occupational exposure to pigs was a risk factor for human infection. Influenza immunisation of pig industry workers may reduce transmission and the potential for virus reassortment.
  • MethodsUK pig industry workers were frequency-matched on age, region, sampling month, and gender with a community-based comparison group from the Flu Watch study. HI assays quantified antibodies for swine and human A(H1) and A(H3) influenza viruses (titres40 considered seropositive and indicative of infection). Virus-specific associations between seropositivity and occupational pig exposure were examined using multivariable regression models adjusted for vaccination. Pigs on the same farms were also tested for seropositivity.
  • ObjectivesTo assess whether occupational exposure to pigs is a risk factor for human infection with human and swine-adapted influenza viruses.
  • ResultsForty-two percent of pigs were seropositive to A(H1N1)pdm09. Pig industry workers showed evidence of increased odds of A(H1N1)pdm09 seropositivity compared to the comparison group, albeit with wide confidence intervals (CIs), adjusted odds ratio after accounting for possible cross-reactivity with other swine A(H1) viruses (aOR) 253, 95% CI (14-5363), P=0028.

publication date

  • 2016
  • 2016