Flu in Canadian swine

Someone finally found the H1N1 swine flu in pigs.

After I bashed them for allotting resources for hog surveillance when little evidence for such a need existed, the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization is now applauding Canada for spotting the flu in a herd of Alberta swine.

However, a person—not other swine—sickened the pigs.

healthzone.ca reports that a carpenter at an Alberta hog farm went to work on April 14 after a visit to Mexico and may have brought the H1N1 flu with him. Within a couple weeks, about a tenth of the 2,200-hog operation showed signs of the flu.

The affected hogs were quarantined and all are recovering or have already recovered. Only one other person who has had contact with the pigs shares signs of illness.

Across Canada, however, canada.com reports that another 15 cases of H1N1 flu were confirmed last week, bringing the country’s total to 34. One case was a student at Beairsto Elementary School, which responded by closing for a week.

Additionally, the story reports,

“The federal government will launch a public awareness campaign Friday to inform Canadians about the swine flu as the number of cases in Canada climbed to 34 and the number of worldwide cases surpassed 270.”

I hope these messages for the public contain more information than “you can’t get the flu from food,” which is about all I’ve heard so far.

In a press release in the US, the director of science and technology for the National Pork Producers Council, Dr. Jennifer Greiner, was quoted as saying,

"People cannot get the flu from eating or handling pork. The flu is a respiratory illness, it’s not a food-borne illness."

Then can someone please explain to their country how to manage these respiratory risks?

Let’s talk more about what the risks are than what they aren’t.