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Human H1N1 Flu Virus Found in Pork Samples

by 5m Editor
5 November 2009, at 10:07am

HONG KONG - Two pork samples taken from Sheung Shui Slaughterhouse on 22 October have tested positive for human H1N1 flu, the Food & Health Bureau says.

This is the first time such a virus has been detected in pigs in Hong Kong University's regular flu virus surveillance programme since 1999. No gene reassortment has occurred and the virus remains genetically similar to regular human H1N1 flu viruses.

Experts believe the virus has recently transmitted from humans to pigs. The risk of humans contracting the virus has not risen and there is no need to test chilled and frozen pork.

As the findings echo similar reports in other countries, there is no cause for the public to be overly concerned, the bureau said today, adding those involved in pig farming and the slaughtering trade will be among the target groups to be vaccinated when the human H1N1 flu vaccination programme begins.

The Agriculture, Fisheries & Conservation Department has contacted all local pig farmers reminding them to stay vigilant and report any abnormalities in their livestock. It will regularly inspect farms and monitor pigs' health.

The Government has contacted Mainland authorities to further enhance the monitoring and inspection of registered farms supplying live pigs to Hong Kong. The Food & Environmental Hygiene Department will enhance inspections, including boundary checkpoints.

It is safe for people to eat pork and pork products which are handled properly and cooked thoroughly.