....(....) Most seem to agree it's a misnomer to refer to the illness as swine flu.
The World Organization for Animal Health is referring to it as the North American flu. But Gary Anderson, a researcher with the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, said it was more accurate to call it a hybrid flu.
"The core of its genetics is a swine influenza virus," he said. "But it has pieces and parts of swine, human and avian (viruses). What's unique about this rascal is it's able to go between people without any pigs being involved."
Anderson said swine routinely get the flu and those known strains don't cause any problems for people.
Wagstrom said it's unknown whether pigs can catch the illness from people. It's also unknown whether the hybrid form is any more serious than other flu strains.
Because no swine are known to have the hybrid flu, U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers are quickly trying to find some answers by recovering the virus from people infected with the illness.
Wagstrom said healthy pigs will then be injected with the virus to see whether they become ill and what the illness looks like.
As for the effect of vaccines for swine, Wagstrom said there is enough similarity to current strains and the hybrid strain that vaccines now on the market may help.
"There's speculation that we would have some immunity," she said. "It's one of the other things the USDA will be testing."
Comment: The question we would like to ask is: If the new flu virus is such a genetic mix, how did it become that way? Is it just an amazing coincidence or something else at work? There seem to be quite a lot of "coincidences" lately.