Saturday, May 02, 2009

Pigs getting swine flu from people

This sounds very silly indeed, farmers getting worried that pigs will get swine flu from people. But, umm, it's not actually all that silly. For this is exactly what happens with zoonoses:

Humans have it. Pigs don't. At least not yet, and U.S. pork producers are doing everything they can to make sure that the new H1N1 virus, known around the world as the "swine flu," stays out of their herds.

"That is the biggest concern, that your herd could somehow contract this illness from an infected person," said Kansas hog farmer Ron Suther, who is banning visitors from his sow barns and requiring maintenance workers, delivery men and other strangers to report on recent travels and any illness before they step foot on his property.

"If a person is sick, we don't want you coming anywhere on the farm," Suther said.

Those sentiments were echoed by producers around the nation this week as fears of a possible global flu pandemic grew, with more than 200 people sickened, including more than 100 in the United States, and at least 177 dead, all but one in Mexico.

"There is no evidence of this new strain being in our pig populations in the United States. And our concern very much is we don't want a sick human to come into our barns and transmit this new virus to our pigs," said National Pork Producers chief veterinarian Jennifer Greiner.

It's the very point about such diseases in fact, that not only can we humans get it from animals, but animlas can get it from humans. This is why it's a cross species disease in hte first place of course. It's the very definition of it.

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