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Influenza A/H1N1 2009 Confirmed in Pigs

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, has today confirmed the first pig herd  to have tested positive for the Influenza A/H1N1 2009.  

The Department emphasised that the disease in pigs is mild, has low impact on production and has no significance as regards food safety. It is believed that the most likely source of transmission to the pig herd was from an infected person.

This is not an unexpected event given the widespread occurrence of the pandemic virus in humans and the possibility for occasional transmission from humans to pigs. In recent months the A/H1N1/2009 has been detected in pigs in Canada, Australia, Argentina and more recently in Northern Ireland.

The Department has recommended that increased biosecurity measures on pig farms be implemented, and that the Code of Practice for Pandemic Influenza A/H1N1 in pigs, which has already been drawn up by the Department in consultation with the pig producing stakeholders, be adhered to.

Notes for Editors

The code  provides guidance to pig keepers on the actions they should take to reduce the risk of introduction of influenza viruses to pig herds, how to manage the disease if it is confirmed in a herd and how to prevent its onward transmission. It has recently been distributed to all pig keepers in the country and is available on the Department' website at www@agriculture.ie 

lnfluenza is not a public health concern, nor should consumers be concerned about eating pork or pork products. According to a joint statement of FAO, the World Health Organisation and OIE, influenza viruses are not known to be transmissible to humans through eating processed pork or other food products derived from pigs (see attached link: http://www.oie.int/eng/press/en_090507_bis.htm

In line with the OIE, the guidelines agreed at EU level do not recommend to cull infected pig herds or to prohibit the normal movement of clinically healthy animals for slaughter.

Date Released: 30 September 2009