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US Study Finds Pigs May Test Positive For West Nile, But Do Not Transmit Virus

by 5m Editor
20 May 2004, at 12:00am

US - While the West Nile virus has been found in the blood of some piglets in recent studies, the amount is so small that it poses no threat, and in most cases is so low that it is not enough to transmit back to a mosquito, said Paul Sundberg, vice president of science and technology at the National Pork Board.

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Iowa State University and Colorado State University both performed experiments in which they exposed young pigs to the virus via injection and mosquitoes, Sundberg said. Neither of the two studies found any evidence of pig-to-pig transmission of the disease, he said.

Kenneth Platt, an Iowa State veterinary microbiology professor who conducted the ISU study, referred all questions about the study to the National Pork Board.

Sundberg said the two schools also found that these young pigs can get the virus in their blood stream, but that it is at a very low level and for a very short time.

While the Iowa State study stopped at this point, the Colorado State study continued to test the West Nile virus on market-age pigs. It found that as the pigs got older there was even less a susceptibility to the disease, Sundberg said.

"They theorized that as pigs get older, they become more immune to picking up the virus," Sundberg said.

He said neither people who eat the pork nor those working in the meat-packing industry are threatened by West Nile Virus infection from pigs. He said that while scientists cannot say there is a zero percent chance of the virus being passed along, it is slim.

"Kind of like saying there is a chance of getting hit by an asteroid - yes, but it is safe to say it isn't going to happen," Sundberg said.

Source: eFeedLink - 20th May 2004

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