Schaumburg, IL — The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is advising consumers concerned about the outbreak of the new virus being called swine influenza that neither exposure to pigs nor consumption of pork are risk factors for infection.
“This disease is transmitted from human to human and, as far as we know right now, it does not involve pigs, livestock or pets,” explains Dr. Ron DeHaven, chief executive officer of the AVMA. “That said, the association advises people to follow proper cooking guidelines for all meat products including pork to avoid food borne illnesses such as salmonella.”
The American Association of Swine Veterinarians has reported the new virus has not been found in pigs.
“The AVMA is working with the American Association of Swine Veterinarians and so far there have been no reports of outbreaks among swine herds, although members of the group are stepping up surveillance for the virus and keeping in close contact with federal and state animal health officials,” Dr. DeHaven said.
“It’s unfortunate that this flu strain is being called “swine” flu, because the virus is a combination of viruses including swine, poultry and human influenzas,” explains Dr. Bret Marsh, the Indiana state veterinarian. “The reality is that swine flu hasn’t been found in swine populations in the United States.”
This new virus, despite its name, is believed to be spreading via human to human contact. Swine influenza is believed to have spread among people who had no contact with pigs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack issued a statement on April 26 that there was no evidence swine have been infected with this new virus.
This new virus was first reported in North America. The virus has caused more severe illness and some deaths in Mexico, and, to date, there has been only one death from the illness reported in the United States.
The symptoms of this new influenza are similar to seasonal flu but may have additional gastrointestinal problems, such as vomiting, stomach ache and diarrhea.
For more information, please visit www.avma.org.