Pandemic influenza virus confirmed in a pig farm


<p>Analyses carried out by the Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira and the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) have confirmed pandemic (H1N1) influenza virus in samples taken from the porcine respiratory tracts. This is the first case in Finland where the human pandemic influenza virus has been proven to have been transmitted to pigs.</p>

Similar infections have been reported occasionally in various countries in pig farms and poultry farms since May 2009.

Swine influenza specific to pigs was detected in Finland for the first time in March this year. The virus, which is circulating among pigs in pig farms, proved to be of subtype H1N1, which during the past decade has been commonly found in pigs in different European countries, for example Denmark and Sweden. Although the influenza virus specific to pigs and the pandemic virus are both of subtype H1N1, they are only remotely related.

Evira and THL work together in monitoring the strains of both human and swine influenza viruses. Earlier research and experience from corresponding situations has shown that in this pandemic situation and at the present epidemic phase in Finland the infections transmitted from people to pigs do not affect the progress of the epidemic among the population. The influenza virus is not transmitted through food so pork can be eaten safely.

For more information, please contact:
Influenza in pigs
Ms. Liisa Sihvonen, Research Director, tel. +358 (0) 50 553 9226
Ms. Liisa Kaartinen, Head of Research Unit, tel. +358 (0) 40 840 7364
Ms. Taina Aaltonen, Director, tel. +358 (0) 40 775 0219

Influenza in people
Mr. Markku Kuusi, Senior Medical officer, THL, tel. +358 (0) 20 610 8935


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