Pigs may have been infected with H1N1 virus in U.S.

October 16, 2009 8:59 pm 

WASHINGTON, Oct. 17 — A preliminary test shows that some pigs in the U.S. state of Minnesota were tested positive for the H1N1 virus, which might be the first time that H1N1 flu cases were found in U.S. pigs.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials cautioned that further tests were needed to confirm that the pigs had been infected with H1N1.

Samples of these pigs were collected at the Minnesota State Fair between Aug. 26 and Sept. 1. The pigs sampled at the time showed no signs of illness and were apparently healthy. The samples collected were part of a University of Iowa and University of Minnesota cooperative agreement research project funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which documents influenza viruses where humans and pigs interact at such fairs.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Friday announced that the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratories will be conducting confirmatory testing on these swine samples.

"Like people, swine routinely get sick or contract influenza viruses. We currently are testing the Minnesota samples to determine if this is 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza," said Vilsack. "We are working in partnership with CDC as well as our animal and public health colleagues and will continue to provide information as it becomes available."

USDA's National Veterinary Services Laboratories expect to have confirmatory results within the next few days.

"I want to remind people that people cannot get this flu from eating pork or pork products," said Vilsack. (PNA/Xinhua) LBV/utb

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