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The next pandemic flu virus could come from pigs, but are we monitoring their health closely enough?

Last year's H1N1 pandemic was a wake-up call to many scientists to how unpredictable and dangerous viruses circulating in the animal world can be if they jump to humans. The outbreak of avian flu in 2006 was our first clue.

Since then, there's been a lot of talk about monitoring the health of the animals most likely to pass on a flu virus with pandemic potential — pigs and birds..

Even if we can get a handle on surveillance in the U.S. sometime soon, the next H1N1 could just as easily come from another country, like China, which produces nearly half of the world's pigs, and is doing even less surveillance.