Determination of the association between livestock systems and influenza prevalence and diversity in swine, Cambodia (PigFluCam)

Supported by Naval Health Research Centre

Pandemic influenza A viruses cause significant mortality and morbidity in humans and are initiated by animal viruses adapting to sustained transmission in humans. Previous work suggests that influenza pandemics evolve undetected in hosts such as swine for several years before they are first detected in humans, and the role of swine in the 2009-H1N1 pandemic is well known. However, research and surveillance of influenza in pigs has thus far been limited, particularly in emerging livestock systems of low and middle income countries.

Research on influenza ecology at the human-animal interface is particularly needed in Cambodia, to identify where the risks of zoonotic transmission and re-assortment of influenza are highest, and how these risks may be influenced by changing livestock practices. In Cambodia, backyard livestock keeping remains prevalent, and the supply of pigs to urban areas still relies largely on smallholder production. With increasing rates of meat consumption, however, monogastric production and trading practices are rapidly changing, and the implications for zoonotic and pandemic risk are unclear.

This project aims to improve our understanding of the transmission ecology, diversity, and evolution of swine influenza viruses, through strengthening surveillance among pigs in Cambodia.   

LSHTM Principal Investigators: James Rudge, Richard Coker

Email: James.Rudge@lshtm.ac.uk 

Specific Objectives

1. Enhance influenza surveillance and characterisation among swine in Cambodia.

2. Characterise the prevalence and genetic diversity of influenza viruses in pigs across various modes and stages of pig production in Cambodia, in to relation to pig densities, movements, and interspecies interactions;

3. Develop mathematical models of influenza transmission in Cambodia’s pig sector, to explore the potential impact of changing livestock practices on zoonotic and pandemic risk.

                                     Project collaborators