Canadian hog workers with new flu strain

09-07-2009 | |

Canadian pork producers are facing more concern after a new strain of flu virus was reported in three Saskatchewan hog barn workers.

Pork producers said the development was concerning even though health officials said the new strain of flu was not linked to the H1N1 influenza A virus circulating internationally.

Officials could not say how the three workers came to contract the new flu strain, but said they had not been outside of the country and that the pigs they had contact with were tested and were found to be healthy.
“It seems to be an ongoing thing. We get over one thing, and it seems like the next thing hits,” Jack DeWit, chairman of the BC Pork Producers Association said.

Canadian pork industry representatives are currently in Saskatoon for meetings on swine health issues, with animal health being a top priority for the industry since the H1N1 outbreak.

Neil Ketilson, the general manager of the Saskatchewan Pork Development Board, said that the industry in Canada had lost an estimated $500 million in the past three months.

For individual producers, the mounting losses are raising questions about whether or not they should stay in the business.