The Journal of infectious diseases. 2016-01-15; 213.2: 173-82.

Evolutionary Dynamics of Influenza A Viruses in US Exhibition Swine

Nelson MI, Wentworth DE, Das SR, Sreevatsan S, Killian ML, Nolting JM, Slemons RD, Bowman AS

PMID: 26243317


The role of exhibition swine in influenza A virus transmission was recently demonstrated by >300 infections with influenza A(H3N2) variant viruses among individuals who attended agricultural fairs. Through active influenza A virus surveillance in US exhibition swine and whole-genome sequencing of 380 isolates, we demonstrate that exhibition swine are actively involved in the evolution of influenza A viruses, including zoonotic strains. First, frequent introduction of influenza A viruses from commercial swine populations provides new genetic diversity in exhibition pigs each year locally. Second, genomic reassortment between viruses cocirculating in exhibition swine increases viral diversity. Third, viral migration between exhibition swine in neighboring states demonstrates that movements of exhibition pigs contributes to the spread of genetic diversity. The unexpected frequency of viral exchange between commercial and exhibition swine raises questions about the understudied interface between these populations. Overall, the complexity of viral evolution in exhibition swine indicates that novel viruses are likely to continually reemerge, presenting threats to humans.