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Pandemic H1N1 Flu Virus

The pandemic H1N1 flu virus causes respiratory illness in people that is similar to regular seasonal influenza viruses. This particular strain has also spread from infected people to pigs and poultry on a limited number of occasions.

There is no risk to the food supply. Influenza viruses do not affect the safety of properly cooked pork, poultry or eggs, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Normal cooking practices kill influenza viruses.

Furthermore, there is no evidence pigs or poultry are contributing to the spread of the pandemic H1N1 flu virus in the human population.

Affected pigs usually recover uneventfully within five-to-seven days after they become ill. Poultry infected with low pathogenic avian influenza viruses usually show mild or no signs of illness and recover over the same period of time as pigs. Research has shown the pandemic H1N1 flu virus causes mild to no signs of influenza in pigs and poultry.

The pandemic H1N1 flu virus in pigs and poultry is not federally reportable in Canada. However, producers should always follow strict biosecurity measures to reduce the risk of introducing infection to their animals, and immediately notify a veterinarian if illness is suspected. Infected animals are managed using the same veterinary management and biosecurity practices employed for other non-federally reportable influenza viruses.

Information for producers and the livestock sector:

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