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PIGS CATCH 'SWINE FLU' - Farmhand Infects Herd

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Author Topic: PIGS CATCH 'SWINE FLU' - Farmhand Infects Herd  (Read 29 times)
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« on: May 03, 2009, 02:42:56 pm »

                                                     PIGS CATCH  SWINE FLU   

                                                      Farmhand Infects Herd

May 3, 2009

A pig herd in central Alberta has been infected with the swine flu virus in what could potentially be the first human-to-animal virus transmission case, provincial officials confirmed yesterday afternoon.

More Albertans have also been affected by the bug, with Edmonton seeing its first four cases of the swine flu.

A man, young girl, and two women all have minor forms of the flu and are said to be recovering, and all are believed to be isolated cases, said the province's top doctor, Andre Corriveau.

The 2,200 animals were exposed to the virus by a farm worker exhibiting flu-like symptoms after returning from Mexico.

The office of the chief provincial veterinarian was notified Tuesday that some of the farm's pigs showed flu-like symptoms after the worker, who came home on April 12, exposed the pigs to the virus when he returned to work two days later.

The farm was immediately placed under quarantine and samples were taken and sent to the National Centre for Foreign Diseases in Winnipeg to be analyzed. A bulletin was also sent out to the province's pork industry workers.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is now leading the investigation with the help of Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development.

The pigs, the farm worker, and the family living on and running the farm have since recovered or are recovering, said agriculture Minister George Groeneveld. There have been no other reports of swine flu viruses in pigs and the flu has been confined to this particular operation, he added.

Groeneveld emphasized that there is no evidence that the flu virus can be contracted by eating pork or pork products, adding: "Pork is safe to eat. There is no risk to our food supply."

However, he said these findings could have an impact on Alberta's pork producers and the export market.

"Border closures are unwarranted but there have been some closures because we have the (swine flu) in Canada," Groeneveld said. "We'll see what transpires. I think we'll have to talk to our American counterparts and they have no problems, at this point, with the export of our pork."

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« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2009, 02:45:36 pm »


Dr. Gerald Hauer, chief provincial veterinarian, said that swine flu is known to occur in pigs in the province, particularly a common everyday strain of the swine flu virus.

But this is the first time they were made aware of a swine flu strain that could be transferred from humans to animals.

Biosecurity measures such as limiting visitors to pig farm operations and ensuring workers shower before and after entering pig farms, are in place to prevent other similar incidents, Hauer said.

He noted that the flu virus is a "notifiable" disease, meaning within 24 hours of noticing or suspecting signs of the swine flu, incidents must be reported to the chief veterinarian's office.

Corriveau, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, said from a human perspective, a possible human-to-animal transmission of the virus gives no reason to panic. He added that people should continue to take precautionary measures to prevent spreading disease.


Alberta Health and Wellness also confirmed that elsewhere in Alberta, two new cases have been recorded in northern Alberta and one in Calgary, bringing the provincial total to 15.

None of the patients have required hospitalization.

Edmonton Sun


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