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USDA Confirms H1N1 Flu Virus in Minnesota Pig Sample

by 5m Editor
20 October 2009, at 11:06am

US - The Department of Agriculture has confirmed that the pandemic H1N1 influenza virus was present in the pig samples taken at the Minnesota Fair. Agriculture Secretary Vilsack stresses "US pork is safe to eat".

Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack, has announced that USDA's National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) has confirmed the presence of 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza virus in a pig sample collected at the Minnesota State Fair submitted by the University of Minnesota. Additional samples are being tested.

He said: "We have fully engaged our trading partners to remind them that several international organizations, including the World Organization for Animal Health, have advised that there is no scientific basis to restrict trade in pork and pork products

"People cannot get this flu from eating pork or pork products. Pork is safe to eat."

Sequence results on the haemagglutinin, neuraminidase and matrix genes from the virus isolate are compatible with reported 2009 pandemic H1N1 sequences. The samples collected at the 2009 Minnesota State Fair were part of a University of Iowa and University of Minnesota cooperative agreement research project funded by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which documents influenza viruses where humans and pigs interact at such as fairs.

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. USDA continues to remind US 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 programme.

For more information about USDA's 2009 pandemic H1N1 efforts, click here.