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USDA confirms H1N1 in MN fair pig sample

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack 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.

"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," said Vilsack.

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

Sequence results
Sequence results on the hemagglutinin, 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 (CDC) 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.

Need for hygiene

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.

As a response, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) also immediately sent out a press release reiterating that pork is safe to eat and handle.

For more information about USDA's 2009 pandemic H1N1 efforts, click here. (photo: Emmy Koeleman)

Related news item:
• USDA: confirmary H1N1 testing in swine (19 Oct 2009)

Related websites:
• University of Minnesota
• University of Iowa
• World Organization for Animal Health (OIE)
• National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) 
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 
• Minnesota State Fair
• United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

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