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News Alert for all owners of pigs: Influenza A (H1N1) - initially called swine flu

swineflu h1n1NZPork, the organisation funded by New Zealand pork producers has important information for all owners of pigs. Please read this carefully and take very good care to ensure that any risk to your pigs, and therefore New Zealand’s pig herd, is minimised. The situation is evolving and is being closely monitored in New Zealand by NZPork and MAF Biosecurity New Zealand in respect of pig health. There are significant international human health and trade implications. NZPork will update lifestyleblock.co.nz website which is a very valuable method of communicating with pig owners who are not involved in the commercial industry. Please refer other pig owners to this advice.

The disease is 'Influenza A (H1N1)

It is now widely recognised that it is not correct to call the current human disease ‘swine influenza’. This is a different virus to the one that causes swine flu in pigs overseas. There is no evidence to date that pigs have been infected, or could be infected, by this mutated virus. There has never been a case of swine influenza in pigs in New Zealand.

Pork is safe to eat

Credible scientists including New Zealand Food Safety Authority confirm that pig flu viruses are not transmitted by food. You cannot get the virus causing the current human outbreak from eating pork or pork products that are properly cooked. Refer www.nzfsa.govt.nz

Take extra care of your pigs

Until the impact of this current virus is better understood, all owners of pigs need to take extra precautions to ensure that if there is any risk of this virus being transmitted from humans to pigs, or any perception of a risk, it is minimised.

All pig owners need to maintain effective farm biosecurity, particularly around persons’ access to farms and pigs. Pig owners need to be vigilant around disinfecting and cleaning procedures when people enter and leave a farm, ensure staff do not work with pigs if they have flu-like symptoms, and raise any unusual pig health issues immediately with your own veterinary adviser or local veterinarian. For more detail on appropriate biosecurity measures, refer to http://www.nzpork.co.nz/HealthBiosecurity.aspx

Symptoms of swine influenza in pigs

Symptoms of swine influenza in pigs include sudden onset of fever, depression, coughing (barking), discharge from the nose or eyes, sneezing, breathing difficulties, eye redness or inflammation, and loss of appetite.

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