In what is considered a somewhat extreme reaction to the reports of swine flu in Mexico, the Chinese Government has banned the import of all pig products from Mexico and the US states of Texas, Kansas and California in an attempt to stop swine flu entering China.
This despite the fact the virus cannot be transmitted by eating properly cooked pork. The move follows an earlier similar ban by Russia and The Philippines against pork products from the same region.
The Chinese Health Ministry, in contrast to its slow response to the SARS outbreak, promptly issued a detailed statement advising people to ensure all pork was cooked properly and warning of the symptoms. The Government did not advise against non-essential travel to Mexico where 152 deaths have been confirmed. The ministry stressed that although there was as yet no vaccine available, the disease was preventable, controllable and treatable, and urged all citizens to immediately report any flu-like symptoms which persisted or became more severe.
In an interview an unnamed health official said “At present, there is no swine flu case in China. What we are doing is closely monitoring for human cases and let the public know how to prevent the disease. However, we warn Chinese citizens to avoid direct contact with pigs and to see a doctor immediately if they fell ill while travelling in Mexico. The ministry urged the same precautions for travellers to the three US states covered by the import ban.”
A spokesman for the American Pork Producers Association has issued a statement that the disease could not be transmitted to humans by properly slaughtered and prepared meat, but only by human to human contact. It also condemned the ban by China as hasty and unnecessary, as pork processing techniques in the USA were among the best in the world.
Click here for Swine Flu Q&A’s