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The same virus has not been detected in any California pigs. "But we don't test every pig for influenza, so we don't know all the strains that are circulating," said Dr. Gil Chavez, California's state epidemiologist.
Early tests indicate this type of flu is resistant to amantadine and rimantadine, two common antiviral medications. It is not unique in that respect -- a more common virus that's been infecting people this flu season also is resistant to those drugs.
Health officials think the current seasonal flu vaccine may not protect against it.
Swine flu is an infamous disease in public health circles. In 1976, health officials were frightened by unusual cases of swine flu in soldiers at Fort Dix, N.J. The virus appeared to be similar to a deadly flu that killed millions around the world in 1918 and 1919.
Federal officials vaccinated 40 million Americans during a national campaign. The pandemic never materialized, but thousands who got the shots filed injury claims, saying they suffered a paralyzing condition and other side effects from the vaccinations.
The government is more sophisticated now in how it diagnoses and tracks diseases, said Dr. Lyn Finelli, a CDC epidemiologist.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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