K-State Scientists Say Flu Not Present in U.S. Swine

Persons infected with swine flu got it from other people, not hogs.

Two scientists at Kansas State University say there is no evidence that the influenza virus that has made 60 people sick in the United States and killed more than 150 in Mexico is present in the U.S. swine herd.

Juergen Richt, veterinary microbiologist and University Distinguished Professor in the K-State College of Veterinary Medicine, said that the H1N1 virus most likely originated in the swine population of Mexico, but that it has not been found in on-going monitoring of U.S. herds.

The virus has genetic characteristics of swine flu, human flu and bird flu. However, it is a unique strain and one never before seen.

Richt said there is no indication that any of the people infected in the United States had been in contact with swine and were instead infected by contact with other other humans.

Veterinarian Steve Dritz said there is also no reason for anyone to fear eating pork because the disease is respiratory and would not be found in the meat. Even if it did exist in meat, it would be killed by cooking, he said.

Information from the World Health Organization posted April 28 on the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Website, concurred:
"There is also no risk of infection from this virus from consumption
of well-cooked pork and pork products. Individuals are advised to
wash hands thoroughly with soap and water on a regular basis and
should seek medical attention if they develop any symptoms of
influenza-like illness."

Both Richt and Dritz said this human outbreak of swine flu should
serve as a reminder to swine producers to be vigilant in monitoring
the health of their herds.

Dritz said that it is now especially important for producers to limit
visitors to their operations and to question employees - specifically
about whether they have had flu symptoms in the past two to three
days. The symptoms are like any flu symptoms, he said, including
fever, coughing, lack of appetite and/or nasal congestion.

If producers discover respiratory disease symptoms in their herd, it
is important that they contact a veterinarian so that appropriate
tests are done.

Dritz said that although most swine flu strains have low mortality
rates, it is possible for a strain to have higher mortality rates
than are typical.

An audio report of interviews with Juergen Richt and Steve Dritz on
this subject is available on the K-State Research and Extension Web
site: http://www.ksre.ksu.edu.

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