Monday, October 19, 2009

USDA Confirms H1N1 In Minnesota Pig



# 3852



Not unexpectedly, test results have come back on at least one of the 3 pigs from a Minnesota fair in late August showing the H1N1 virus.


Below is today’s USDA press release, announcing the test results. The main message here appears to be one of reassurance over the safety of pork and damage control for the battered pork industry.


Release No. 0514.09
Angela Harless (202) 720-4623



Agriculture Secretary Vilsack: "U.S. Pork Is Safe to Eat"

WASHINGTON, Oct. 19, 2009 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA's National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) has confirmed the presence of 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza virus in a pig sample collected at the Minnesota State Fair submitted by the University of Minnesota. Additional samples are being tested.


"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. Pork is safe to eat."


Sequence results on the hemagglutinin, neuraminidase and matrix genes from the virus isolate are compatible with reported 2009 pandemic H1N1 sequences. The samples collected at the 2009 Minnesota State Fair 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 which documents influenza viruses where humans and pigs interact at such as fairs.


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



According to the USDA on Friday, samples were taken in late August by a joint project of the University of Iowa and University of Minnesota  in a research project funded by the CDC which documents influenza viruses where humans and pigs come in contact with each other, such as fairs.


Recent media reports suggest a growing reluctance on the part of pork producers to test their herds, fearing bad news would further depress pork prices.  


This from DMV magazine late last month:


Fear over H1N1 detection brings down swine disease samples

Sep 25, 2009


National Report -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), concerned about a perceived drop in swine disease samples from pork producers, is urging veterinarians to continue monitoring herds for a variety of diseases, including the H1N1 influenza virus.