Statement On H1N1 North American (Swine) Influenza Outbreak

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Swine influenza viruses are just one type of a large group of Influenza A viruses that also includes avian, equine, canine and human influenza viruses. They can cause disease in many species of animals.??

???True??? swine influenza (hog or pig flu) is a viral disease of pigs caused specifically by swine influenza virus (SIV). It is highly contagious among pigs. Occasionally it can cause disease in turkeys and humans. When this happens, it does not usually spread beyond those affected initially. Humans contracting the disease are usually those who work closely with the animals ??? farmers, farm hands or veterinarians.??

So far there is no evidence to suggest that the current outbreak of influenza virus H1N1 in North America and Europe is associated with any disease in pigs. Unlike SIV pig flu, it appears to be passed readily from human to human and does not require the presence of pigs for transmission.??There is no evidence to suggest that swine influenza virus or the H1N1virus currently causing the outbreak of disease may be contracted by eating pork or pork products. Therefore restrictions on imports of pork or pork products from affected countries will not be implemented at this time.?? Surveillance of local pigs will be increased with regard to respiratory diseases.

Laboratory analysis of the genetic sequence of the virus obtained from 2 cases from the outbreak in the USA indicated that the virus had components of human, avian and swine influenza viruses and had not been previously isolated. Therefore the current outbreak being called ???swine influenza??? is extremely misleading.

Previous pandemic or epidemic influenza outbreaks have been named after the region of the origin of the outbreak. The 1918 outbreak of h1n1 was called Spanish flu; the 1968 H3N2 was Hong Kong flu and 1977 H1N1 was Russian flu. It has been suggested that this current outbreak be designated ???Mexican flu??? or ???North American flu??? (OIE).??The Veterinary Services Department will continue to monitor the course of the human disease, especially with regard to any involvement of animals.??

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