USDA's National Veterinary Services Laboratory has confirmed that pig samples taken from the Minnesota State Fair do contain H1N1 influenza. This is the first occurrence of the virus in swine in the U.S. Further testing is being conducted. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is spreading the message that pork is safe to eat.
"We have fully engaged our trading partners to remind them that several international organizations, including the World Organization for Animal Health, have advised that there is no scientific basis to restrict trade in pork and pork products," said Vilsack. "People cannot get this flu from eating pork or pork products."
The infection of the fair pig does not suggest infection of commercial herds because show pigs and commercially raised pigs are in separate segments of the swine industry that do not typically interchange personnel or animal stock. USDA continues to remind U.S. swine producers about the need for good hygiene, biosecurity and other practices that will prevent the introduction and spread of influenza viruses in their herd and encourage them to participate in USDA's swine influenza virus surveillance program.
More information about USDA's 2009 pandemic H1N1 efforts is available at http://www.usda.gov/H1N1flu.
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