Last month, Paul Lantos, MD, a Duke Medicine hospitalist and Pediatric Infectious Diseases specialist, was lead author of a fascinating study about influenza illness in North Carolina. The researchers asked whether living near the state’s hog farms affect the strains of flu that infect us. The short answer is “yes” and we should pay attention.
Lantos, PM, Hoffman, K, Höhle, M, Anderson, B, and Gray, GC. "Are People Living Near Modern Swine Production Facilities at Increased Risk of Influenza Virus Infection?." Clinical infectious diseases: an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (November 6, 2016). PMID: 27821546 [Link]
The abstract states, "Our findings suggest that concentrated swine feeding operations amplified transmission of influenza during years in which H1N1 was circulating. This has implications for vaccine strategies targeting swine workers, as well as virologic surveillance in areas with large concentrations of swine."