H1N1 Virus in Hong Kong Pigs

Hong Kong’s Center for Food Safety (CFS) Wednesday announced that no A(H1N1) influenza viruses were detected in samples from pigs taken during August to mid-October.

The results reported were under a regular influenza virus surveillance program conducted by the University of Hong Kong (HKU) at the Sheung Shui Slaughterhouse. Among some 1,000 samples tested, no A(H1N1) virus was detected. However, 15 samples were found to contain a virus that was essentially a swine influenza H3N2 virus but had picked up some genes of human swine influenza virus.

The same virus was also found in the last round of surveillance program for May to July.

The HKU expert in charge of the surveillance program Professor JSM Peiris reiterated that this swine influenza H3N2 virus, which carried the genes of the A(H1N1) virus, is unlikely to cause any major human health risk or problems in food safety.

A spokesman for the CFS said that the CFS would continue to monitor reports of the program and make announcements on a regular basis.

“Results will be announced immediately if there are significant public health impacts,” he said.

The CFS has been liaising closely with the Mainland authorities on any abnormal situation in the Mainland farms supplying live pigs to Hong Kong and farm inspection would be stepped up when necessary.

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