Tuesday, November 3, 2009

H1N1 Detected in Pigs and Cat

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has confirmed that at least one pig in Minnesota has contracted the 2009 Novel H1N1 influenza virus. Researchers had begun collecting samples from an undisclosed number of pigs at the fair between Aug. 26 and Sept. 1 in St. Paul in a project to document influenza infections in humans and pigs.

The USDA did not release results of the other confirmatory tests, and the agency could not immediately be reached for further comment.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is funding the study by the University of Iowa and University of Minnesota.

"The infection of the fair pig does not suggest infection of commercial herds because show pigs and commercially raised pigs are in separate segments of the swine industry that do not typically interchange personnel or animal stock," the USDA announcement states. "USDA continues to remind U.S. swine producers about the need for good hygiene, biosecurity, and other practices that will prevent the introduction and spread of influenza viruses in their herd and encourage them to participate in USDA's swine influenza virus surveillance program."

People involved with the swine industry have expected some pigs would become infected with the H1N1 influenza strain, Dr. Burkgren, executive director of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, said. He stressed that people cannot contract the disease from handling or eating pork, and personal hygiene is most effective at preventing infection, and he is hopeful that the confirmed infections will not have an impact on consumer demand.

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