Background: The emergence of the 2009 influenza pandemic virus with a swine origin stressed the importance of improving influenza surveillance in swine populations. The objectives of this systematic review and meta-analysis were to describe epidemiological features of swine influenza (SI) across the world and identify factors impacting swine influenza virus surveillance.
Methods: The systematic review followed the PRISMA guidelines. Articles published after 1990 containing data on SI on pig and herd-level seroprevalence, isolation and detection rates, and risk factors were included. Meta-regression analyses using seroprevalence and virological rates were performed.
Results: A total of 217 articles were included. Low avian influenza (AI) seroprevalence (means pig = 4.1%; herd = 15%) was found, showing that AIV do not readily establish themselves in swine while SIV seroprevalence was usually high across continents (influenza A means pig = 32.6-87.8%; herd = 29.3-100%). Higher pig density and number of pigs per farm were shown by the meta-regression analyses and/or the risk factor articles to be associated with higher SI seroprevalence. Lower seroprevalence levels were observed for countries with low-to-medium GDP. These results suggest that larger industrial farms could be more at risk of SIV circulation. Sampling swine with influenza-like illness (ILI) was positively associated with higher isolation rates; most studies in Europe, Latin and North America were targeting swine with ILI.
Conclusions: To improve understanding of SI epidemiology, standardization of the design and reporting of SI epidemiological studies is desirable. Performance of SI surveillance systems in low-to-medium GDP countries should be evaluated to rule out technical issues linked to lower observed SIV prevalence. Targeting certain swine age groups, farming systems and swine with ILI may improve the surveillance cost-effectiveness. However, focusing on pigs with ILI may bias virus detection against strains less virulent for swine but which may be important as pandemic threats.