Swine influenza A virus (swIAV) causes respiratory disease and productivity loss in pigs. Swine ‘flu viruses have been known to be both zoonotic and reverse zoonotic and they contain genes of swine, avian(av) and human(hu) origin. Surveillance of swIAV subtypes is important as genotypes/phenotypes are fluid and impact with respect to epidemiology, vaccination, pig welfare, veterinary and public health. Three sub-types (H1avN1, H1N1pdm09, H1huN2) are currently found in pigs from Great Britain (GB), plus H3huN2 in Europe and their reassortants. Screening of candidate samples is carried out by RRT-PCR assays – generic detection of swIAV (M gene) followed by a specific RRT-PCR for H1N1pdm09 (HA gene), a suite of RRT-PCR assays for sub-typing (HA and NA genes) and a (differential) RRT-PCR to specifically identify reassortant swIAVs that incorporate the pandemic 2009 internal gene cassette (NP gene). Subtyping assays, conventional and/or molecular, are carried out on virus isolation-positive and –negative (RNA only) samples from clinical material (respiratory tissue and/or nasal swabs). Since 2009, the number of swIAV has expanded with the H1N1pdm09 isolates reassorting with the traditional subtypes. Many European variants arose (>25) of which some have become established – in GB including H1huN2/pdm (since 2010), and H1avN1/pdm (since 2012), and in Belgium the traditional isolates were detected plus H1pdmN1/pdm and H3huN2/pdm reassortants. PCR subtyping (2012 onwards ∼130 from GB and ∼40 from BE/NL), wholegenome sequencing and bioinformatics analysis of these isolates facilitate further diagnostic improvements and assessment of zoonotic pandemic potential (in silico and in vivo).

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