According to a study in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, pigs in China are increasingly becoming infected with an influenza virus dubbed G4. The virus is said to be a hybrid of strains found in European and Asian birds: the H1N1 strain that caused the 2009 pandemic, and a North American H1N1 strain that has genes from avian, human and pig influenza viruses. The study states that 10.4% of “swine workers” had tested positive for G4.
“A worst-case scenario would be if this started spreading in the fall, at the time when we’re concerned about COVID-19” said Leonard Mermel, DO, professor of medicine at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and medical director of the Department of Epidemiology and Infection Control at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence.
The fear is that this new flu could potentially become a pandemic this fall/winter. Should we be concerned? Of course! Should we panic? Absolutely not! What we can do is stay tuned to experts, check your website updates daily, maintain social distancing, handwashing, and facemasks. Above all, stay strong, stay the course, you’ve got this!