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No Evidence of Mexican Influenza in UK Pigs

by 5m Editor
29 April 2009, at 10:43am

UK - Human influenza A type H1N1 has been circulating in Mexico since mid-March 2009. It has now spread further.

It has been suggested that this strain of influenza virus may have originated from pigs. The virus has not been isolated from pigs and there have been no reports of unusual disease in pig herds.

Speaking to the Newspaper Society at the Palace of Westminster Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said, "The UK and some other members of the European Union undertake routine surveillance to help detect the presence of animal diseases not normally present in the EU and to identify any change in the prevalence of diseases that do occur. Results of our surveillance suggest that this variant of H1N1 does not appear to be present in pigs in the UK or anywhere else in the EU. However we are taking this developing situation very seriously and will maintain our surveillance effort, keeping the public and industry informed of any developments.

"The EU does not import any live pigs or pig products from Mexico, and our risk assessment indicates that there is a negligible likelihood of introducing human influenza strain H1N1 to the UK by the legal import of pigs or pig products from North America.

"As the World Health Organisation has made clear, this situation does not pose a food safety risk to consumers. Eating properly handled and cooked pork and pork products is perfectly safe.

"Personal imports of meat are not permitted from Mexico, Canada or the USA, or indeed anywhere outside Europe."