Thursday, June 25, 2009

H1N1 Detected in Pigs in Argentina

Dow Jones Newswires
June 26, 2009

"The first sign of swine flu has been detected in the Argentine pig population.

At least five hogs in Argentina's populous Buenos Aires Province have tested positive for the H1N1 flu, according to the animal health and sanitation service, or Senasa. A 15-kilometer quarantine area has been imposed, with hogs from surrounding farms being tested, Senasa spokesman Carlos Chichizola said.

Chichizola noted that the presence of the disease in the pig population did not increase the risk to humans, adding that there is no danger from consuming pork. The infected pigs all recovered.

In fact, it's the pigs that are at greater risk from human contact, with Senasa working based on the hypothesis that the pig was made sick through contact with an infected human.

Argentina has been the most seriously affected country in South America by the so-called swine flu. On Wednesday, four more swine flu deaths were reported, raising to 21 the number of people who have died from the flu strain.

According to the Health Ministry, the number of confirmed swine flu cases rose by nearly 100 on Wednesday, to 1,391. Another 967 people are being tested due to suspicion that they may be infected.

The government is currently considering taking sweeping measures to control the disease, which is running rampant in the midst of the southern hemisphere's winter.

With mid-term elections slated for Sunday, any measures that would hinder the vote are unlikely. However, following the vote, the government could take such measures as closing areas where large numbers of people gather, local daily La Nacion reported Thursday, citing government sources. The closing of shopping centers, schools, cinemas and concerts is being considered, La Nacion said.

For now, health minister Graciela Ocana is recommending voters keep at least one-meter distance between themselves and others as they wait in line to vote and to stay in open, well-ventilated areas as much as possible.

According to the World Health Organization, swine flu has spread to 109 countries, infected 55,000 and killed 238 people since March. The WHO declared a global swine flu pandemic on June 11. Canada has also reported cases of the disease in pigs."

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