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Quebec Finds Pandemic Swine
Flu in Hog Heard

From Patricia Doyle, PhD
I can see where people think that the new Pandemic Swine Flu might be bioterrorism however, it appears that hogs are being infected via humans.
Jeff, you and I both know how difficult it is to eradicate viruses once they are established in animal populations. Bird Flu H5N1 is a perfect example.
Wild birds brought H5N1 to new areas and different continents via migrations, as well as poultry spreading the virus to other poultry and humans.
I am afraid the Swine Flu, Pandemic Swine Flu, is here to stay. As to mutation, we hope not, but it is already showing signs of it.
Date: Tue 28 Jul 2009 Alberta Farmer Express Quebec finds pandemic (H1N1) in hog herd
An isolated case of the pandemic strain of (H1N1) influenza has been confirmed in a Quebec hog herd that has since "completely recovered."
The provincial agriculture, food and fisheries ministry (MAPAQ) said in a release Tuesday [28 Jul 2009] that the strain had been identified Friday [24 Jul 2009] at the labs of the National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease in Winnipeg. MAPAQ emphasized Tuesday that no other case has been reported on any other hog farm in Quebec and no people have caught the virus from the herd, saying "there is no human case related to this situation." A MAPAQ spokesman said Tuesday that it's not known how the hogs caught the virus.
MAPAQ pathologist Dr Alain Laperle told the Quebec farmers' newspaper La Terre de Chez Nous on Tuesday [28 Jul 2009] that no one in the hog farmer's family, nor any of the hog farm's workers or visitors, has been sickened by the virus. Laperle told the newspaper that the 1st clinical signs of the flu were detected in the herd at the end of June [2009]. Neither the newspaper nor the ag [MAPAQ] ministry gave the name or location of the hog farm in question. La Terre also quoted Laperle as saying that while the vector by which the disease came to the farm may never be known, the "most probable hypothesis" is that it came through a human carrier.
The ministry in its release Tuesday [28 Jul 2009] also emphasized that Quebec's pork supply is safe to consume and poses no human health risk.
Tuesday's announcement follows a statement Friday [24 Jul 2009] from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) that it will not quarantine hog herds found to carry (H1N1). The agency hasn't yet made any official statement on the Quebec case.
CFIA said Friday [24 Jul 2009] that affected animals from now on "will be managed using the same veterinary management and biosecurity practices employed for other swine influenza viruses." That means "limiting opportunities for (H1N1) to spread to susceptible animals," the agency said, noting pork slaughter plants have "multiple inspection points to ensure that only healthy animals enter the food supply." All herds in which (H1N1) is detected will be monitored to verify that infected animals recover. As well, CFIA added, surveillance for the presence of (H1N1) in swine will continue, so as "to detect any changes in how the virus affects swine and to identify any changes in the structure of the virus."
CFIA's decision follows the quarantine it slapped on a hog herd near Rocky Mountain House, [Alberta], earlier this spring [2009]. The herd was believed to have caught the virus from a person, although the visitor previously suspected of bringing the virus to the farm from Mexico has since been ruled out as the carrier. None of the animals that came down with (H1N1) died from it, but the federal quarantine dragged on as positive tests continued to turn up within the herd. Faced with an indefinite quarantine and overcrowded facilities, the hogs' owner, Arnold Van Ginkel, eventually culled all of his 2000-plus animals last month [June 2009] for animal welfare reasons.
The only other known case of the pandemic strain of (H1N1) crossing over from humans to hogs was reported in Argentina earlier this month [July 2009].
Since the arrival of pandemic (H1N1) in Canada, the federal Public Health Agency has reported 58 people have died from this specific flu strain, as of Tuesday morning [24 Jul 2009]. In all, as of [18 Jul 2009], Canada has reported 10 449 lab-confirmed cases of pandemic (H1N1) in people, including 1141 hospitalizations.
Globally, the World Health Organization reports 816 lab-confirmed deaths due to pandemic (H1N1), and a total of 134 503 lab-confirmed cases of the virus in people as of Monday morning [27 Jul 2009]. However, the WHO said in Monday's report, "given that countries are no longer required to test and report individual cases, the number of cases reported actually understates the real number of cases."
http://www.albertafarmexpress.ca/issues/ISArticle.asp? aid=1000335999&PC=FBC&issue=07282009
Communicated by ProMED-mail promed@promedmail.org
This would confirm that the influenza pandemic (H1N1) virus is essentially benign for pigs. But even so one can hope that the CFIA investigators FedExed their diagnostic samples overnight to Winnipeg and did not hand carry them by air; see ProMED-mail posting 20090723.2603. - Mod.MHJ
Patricia A. Doyle DVM, PhD Bus Admin, Tropical Agricultural Economics Univ of West Indies Please visit my "Emerging Diseases" message board at: http://www.emergingdisease.org/phpbb/index.php Also my new website: http://drpdoyle.tripod.com/ Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa Go with God and in Good Health
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