G4: New Swine Flu
Updated: Aug 20, 2020
A new strain of influenza called G4 EA H1N1l, or G4 for short, has been discovered by Chinese researchers in a paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. This group has been tracking strains of swine influenza between 2011 to 2018, and, out of the 174 strains found, G4 has been the most prevalent.
G4 is currently known to infect humans individually directly from a sick pig, and the virus is currently not at a stage where it is transmittable between human to human.
Under the careful watch by health officials, this zoonotic disease may never be.
Dr. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, stated that the new swine flu in China is “not an immediate threat,” in a senate hearing about the new G-4 virus.
Swine influenza viruses that infect humans are called “variant virus infections in humans,” according to the CDC, and what makes G4 a potential threat that requires strict observation is that the DNA includes contents of H1N1, a virus that caused a pandemic in 2009. H1N1 is highly contagious and has killed 285,000 in 2009. Since then, it has morphed into a seasonal flu. The possibility that G4 will trigger a pandemic does exist if it is allowed to evolve to infect humans with other humans like the H1N1 virus.
How is G4 able to Spread from Pigs to Humans?
Contracting G4 or other types of swine flu variants is typically due to close contact to one or more sick pigs. Workers in the meat industry are those who are most at risk, as they face unsanitary conditions where masses of pigs are confined in close quarters.
However, there has yet to be a case where swine influenza is transmitted to people due to eating properly handled and cooked pork. Swine influenza has not been shown to be transmissible to people through eating properly handled and prepared pork (pig meat) or other products derived from pigs according to the USDA, so you can rest assured you aren’t going to contract a deadly disease from eating your breakfast bacon.