April 27, 2009

Purdue expert: Swine flu has no connection to today's pigs

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - No pigs have been found with swine flu (H1N1) - only humans - but pork producers need to take precautionary measures to protect their herds from being infected with any flu virus, said a Purdue University veterinarian.

"Flu viruses are named after the first animal they were found in," said Sandy Amass. "This particular strain just happened to be discovered in pigs in 1930, and this is the only reason it's called swine flu. We don't even know if the virus found in humans will infect pigs."

At this point, the new H1N1 virus has not been found in the U.S. pig population, said Amass, who specializes in swine production medicine. Amass has three recommendations for pork producers:

* Do not permit people, including employees that have the flu or flulike symptoms, in or around barns.

* Do not allow any visitors to the farm, especially international visitors who have had contact with other livestock.

* If pigs show flu symptoms - coughing, runny nose, fever and a reduction in feed intake - call a veterinarian and have them tested.

"It's important to make sure your biosecurity procedures are being followed," Amass said. "If you have any concern, work with your vet because they know your operation best."

For more information about swine flu and biosecurity measures, contact Amass at 765-494-8052, amass@purdue.edu

Writer: Julie Douglas, 765-496-1050, douglajk@purdue.edu

Sources: Sandy Amass, 765-494-8052, amass@purdue.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-8415;
Steve Leer, sleer@purdue.edu
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