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Many of these persons would not otherwise have any exposure to swine and the pathogens they harbor, so their close contact with pigs at fairs may play multiple roles in the transmission of influenza A viruses: they may pass human-origin influenza virus A to swine, leading to novel reassortant viruses; they may serve as early sentinels by becoming infected first with a novel swine-origin influenza A virus; or they may disseminate a novel swine-origin influenza virus A in their local communities (27).
Novel swine-origin influenza virus A (H1N1): the first pandemic of the 21st century.
Reassortment or recombining of viral genetic material from human, swine, and avian influenza strains presents the dangerous possibility of pathogenic strains capable of causing widespread infection including pandemics, as was the case with the swine-origin influenza virus pandemic last year.