News 1831 views last update:Oct 20, 2009

USDA: confirmary H1N1 testing in swine

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratories will be conducting confirmatory testing on swine samples collected at the 2009 Minnesota State Fair (photo) between August 26 and September 1, related to possible H1N1 infections.

The pigs sampled at the time showed no signs of illness and were apparently healthy. The samples collected 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 (CDC) which documents influenza viruses where humans and pigs interact at such as fairs.

"Like people, swine routinely get sick or contract influenza viruses. We currently are testing the Minnesota samples to determine if this is 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza," said US agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack.

"We are working in partnership with CDC as well as our animal and public health colleagues and will continue to provide information as it becomes available."

USDA's National Veterinary Services Laboratories may have confirmatory results within the next few days. "I want to remind people that they cannot get this flu from eating pork or pork products," said Vilsack.

An outbreak of 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza occurred in a group of children housed in a dormitory at the fair at the same time samples were collected from the pigs, but no direct link to the pigs has been made. Information available at this time would suggest the children were not sickened by contact with the fair pigs.

As a result of the press release by the USDA, the National Pork Board (NPB), the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and the American Meat Institute (AMI) all released press releases, again stressing that pork is safe to eat. (photo: Emmy Koeleman)

Related websites:
• National Pork Producers Council (NPPC)
• United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
• American Meat Institute (AMI)
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
• University of Iowa
• University of Minnesota
• Minnesota State Fair

Or register to be able to comment.