H1N1 inspectors infected at Alberta farm

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has said that two of its employees, who later developed the novel influenza A (H1N1), failed to follow safety procedures when investigating an H1N1 outbreak at an Alberta pig farm in late April.

Officials told it appears the workers took off their protective masks when the equipment fogged up in the hog barn, despite protocols that called for the masks to remain in place throughout the investigation.

The two workers were diagnosed with H1N1 influenza within days.


Dr Jim Clark, national manager of the agency's disease control section, said, "There were previously established protocols that gave clear instructions about what safety precautions needed to be taken, but we know those procedures weren't followed. We've taken steps to correct the situation."

The two employees were among three agency workers who were investigating the suspected outbreak of H1N1, which was later confirmed in a large swine operation near Rocky Mountain House, 225 kilometres North West of Calgary.

Collecting samples

The veterinarian and the two inspectors were collecting samples from pigs in the herd to test for the new virus. Clark could not say which of the three employees were later diagnosed with H1N1. He said the agency has taken steps to ensure investigators are thoroughly trained and committed to following proper safety procedures.

CBC News reported as well that one of two federal inspectors flew on a commercial flight to Winnipeg shortly after being infected.

Related websites:

Canadian Food Inspection Agency  (CFIA)

CBC News

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