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FAO Acts Over H1N1 Human Crisis

by 5m Editor
28 April 2009, at 11:04am

GLOBAL - FAO is mobilizing its teams of experts to help ascertain if the new strain of H1N1 virus, which already killed many people in Mexico, has a direct connection to pigs.


Global alarm as new H1N1 flu virus spreads

FAO is also deploying a team of experts of the FAO OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) Crisis Management Centre – Animal Health (CMC-AH), to Mexico this week to help the government assess the epidemiologic situation in the pig production sector.

Full Alert

The UN agency has also requested its technical staff around the world be on full alert, immediately report any influenza-like illness in swine stocks and forward specimens to FAO/OIE reference laboratories.

At present, transmission seems to be occurring solely from humans to humans; so far evidence that the new strain of influenza A virus has entered the human population directly from pigs has not been established. Further analysis is planned to gain better insight into the situation.

No Food Chain Threat

“There is no evidence of a threat to the food chain; at this stage it is a human crisis and not an animal crisis, but we have to be alerted and prepared,” said FAO Chief Veterinary Officer Joseph Domenech.

“The first actions FAO and others must take are to ascertain if the new strain is circulating in pigs, establish if there are any direct linkages between the illness in the human population and animals and explain how this new virus has obtained genetic materials from human, bird and pig influenza strains,” he said.

Governments Urged to Step Up Surveillance

FAO is working in close coordination with the World Health Organisation and OIE and other national and international actors involved at all stages of the organization’s operations to ensure maximum efficiency in this worrying turn of events.

FAO urges Governments and the international community to step up disease surveillance in swine.