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Swine Workers Encouraged to Get Flu Vaccinations

25 September 2012, at 7:42am

CANADA - With the onset of flu-season, the Canadian Swine Health Board is recommending pork producers take steps to protect their pigs and themselves by getting seasonal flu vaccinations, writes Bruce Cochrane.

Influenza is a respiratory infection caused by a group of viruses with different strains infecting different species, it typically spreads during the fall and winter months and causes symptoms, such as cough and fever that usually lasts three to four days.

To encourange swine workers to be vaccinated the Canadian Swine Health Board will host a flu vaccination clinic as part of the 2012 Canadian Swine Health Forum October 17th and 18th in Winnipeg.

Dr Dan Hurnik, the chair of the Canadian Swine Health Board's Long Term Disease Risk Management Committee and a member of the faculty of the Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island, says often people don't get vaccinated because it's inconvenient.

Dr Dan Hurnik-Canadian Swine Health Board:

The recommendation for the public to be vaccinated is actually by the Public Health Agency of Canada because they recognize we have an influenza season and there are many people affected by it and it's a net positive to the country and the economy to vaccinate them so the vaccination of people is a Public Health Agency recommendation.

The Swine Health Board who's mandate is to look at the health of the pig herd, that is because we recognize that influenza viruses don't stay only in one species.

Probably the best example is the pandemic H1N1 infection that ran around the world in 2009 also had the ability to affect pigs. Some of these viruses can spread from people to pigs and by protecting the people we're also protecting the pigs.

Dr Hurnik says if there's fewer people sick and fewer animals sick then the health and welfare of both people and animals is improved.

He stresses normally influenza is seasonal so as we head into the fall and winter months, now is the time to take steps to prepare.

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