The new strain of influenza involved in the 2009 swine flu outbreak strain is a reassortment of several strains of influenza A virus subtype H1N1 that are, separately, endemic in humans and in swine. Preliminary genetic characterization found that the hemagglutinin (HA) gene was similar to that of swine flu viruses present in United States pigs since 1999, but the neuraminidase (NA) and matrix protein (M) genes resembled versions present in European swine flu isolates. Viruses with this genetic makeup had not previously been found to be circulating in humans or pigs, but there is no formal national surveillance system to determine what viruses are circulating in pigs in the United States.
The origins of this new strain remain unknown. One theory is that Asian and European strains traveled to Mexico in migratory birds or in people, then combined with North American strains in Mexican pig factory farms before jumping over to farm workers.
The earliest known human influenza