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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

H1N1 swine flu infects commercial swine in USA, reports USDA

Data contradictory. You decide.

United States Department of Agriculture


H1N1 swine flu infects commercial swine in USA, reports USDA

Thursday, November 05, 2009 by: Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor
Key concepts: H1N1, Swine flu and Pork
View on NaturalPedia: H1N1, Swine flu and Pork

(NaturalNews) The pork industry desperately wants you to believe "the Big Lie" about swine flu: That it can't infect pigs, and therefore it's perfectly safe to buy and eat lots and lots of pork products.

It's a merry little tale, and it would be a nice little piece of information to pass along if only it were true.

But it isn't.

H1N1 swine flu can and does infect pigs. And the safety margin for eating pork products from H1N1-infected pigs is not well known.

In fact, the USDA just confirmed H1N1 infections in commercial pigs (the kind used to make those pork chops you ate for breakfast). This is the first time that a commercial herd of pigs has been publicly acknowledged to be infected with H1N1 swine flu by the USDA. (And we all know from watching the USDA's behavior on mad cow disease that the agency goes to great lengths to downplay any such reports...)

The timing of the announcement is, not surprisingly, highly suspicious. Just a few days ago, the USDA negotiated an end to the pork import ban placed on U.S. pork products by China. Before the ink on that agreement was even dry, the USDA -- surprise! -- announced they had discovered this H1N1 infection in commercial swine in the U.S.

This particular commercial herd of swine was located in Indiana. (The USDA isn't saying where.) But here's the best part: The USDA did not ban those pigs from being used in the food supply! At least I couldn't find any such report after scouring the web looking for one. This means these swine flu infected pigs could end up on your dinner table (if you eat pork, that is).

This isn't the first report of H1N1 infecting pigs in the USA, by the way. A few weeks ago, H1N1 infections were confirmed in show pigs at the Minnesota State Fair. Nobody seemed to care, since people weren't planning on eating those show pigs ("Looks good on stage, but tastes even better on the plate!"), but now that H1N1 has been found in commercial herds, suddenly things seem different.

H1N1 swine flu has already been detected in swine herds in Canada, Australia, the UK and many other countries, according to an AP report. So this discovery isn't exactly the world's first.

Of course, any rational pork eater would have already figured out by now that the H1N1 virus is so mild, it poses virtually no health risk to anyone with some vitamin D and a healthy immune system. So technically speaking, even H1N1-infected pork probably poses no real threat to your health.

Then again, eating pork isn't a very rational act to begin with, especially given that pigs are smarter than Man's Best Friend (your family dog) and that they're treated quite inhumanely in the pork producing factories and slaughterhouses. But I guess if you're crazy enough to eat dead pig flesh, a little extra H1N1 probably won't cause you any more harm.

By the way, H1N1 has also crossed from humans to cats and infected a cat in Iowa (http://content.usatoday.com/communi...). Since H1N1 already contains viral fragments of bird flu, human flu and swine flu, it makes me wonder how crazy things might get if it now starts combining with house cats. Could we soon be looking at Feline Swine Flu?

Sources for this story include:

About the author: Mike Adams is a consumer health advocate with a strong interest in personal health, the environment and the power of nature to help us all heal He is a prolific writer and has published thousands of articles, interviews, reports and consumer guides, impacting the lives of millions of readers around the world who are experiencing phenomenal health benefits from reading his articles. Adams is a trusted, independent journalist who receives no money or promotional fees whatsoever to write about other companies' products. In 2007, Adams launched EcoLEDs, a manufacturer of mercury-free, energy-efficient LED lighting products that save electricity and help prevent global warming. He also founded an environmentally-friendly online retailer called BetterLifeGoods.com that uses retail profits to help support consumer advocacy programs. He's also a veteran of the software technology industry, having founded a personalized mass email software product used to deliver email newsletters to subscribers. Adams is currently the executive director of the Consumer Wellness Center, a 501(c)3 non-profit, and regularly pursues cycling, nature photography, Capoeira and Pilates. Known by his callsign, the 'Health Ranger,' Adams posts his missions statements, health statistics and health photos at www.HealthRanger.org

USDA: Ind. pigs test positive for swine flu; first instance of H1N1 in commercial herd in US

Associated Press
11/04/09 2:25 PM EST

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Wednesday that pigs in a commercial herd in Indiana have tested positive for swine flu, making it the first time the virus has been found in such hogs.

The USDA said it discovered four tissue samples that tested positive for the virus using its swine surveillance program.

The sample was collected in late October, and the USDA said the pigs as well as the people caring for the animals have recovered.

Last month, tests confirmed that several show pigs at the Minnesota State Fair contracted swine flu, also known as the H1N1 virus.

The USDA declined to say where in Indiana the sick pigs were located.

USDA officials have stressed repeatedly that instances of pigs with swine flu do not pose a threat to consumers of pork products.

Still, word of a commercial herd contracting the virus for the first time is bad news for the pork industry, which has struggled with poor prices blamed on swine flu fears and the global recession.

Agriculture experts expected that swine flu would eventually show up in domestic swine and a vaccine for hogs is being developed but not yet available. News of the virus in pigs came after herd infections in several other countries, including Canada, Australia, Argentina, Ireland, the United Kingdom and Norway.

The positive tests in Indiana came just days after U.S. officials successfully negotiated an end to one of the more damaging commercial effects of swine flu — a six-month ban on pork imports to China. Officials expect the Chinese to reopen their import markets, offering pork producers an opportunity to export to what was their fastest growing market before the swine flu outbreak.

Pig Dies From Swine Flu, USDA Says

(AP) The U.S. Department of Agriculture says at least one pig from Minnesota has tested positive for the H1N1 virus, the first case of a pig contracting the virus in the United States.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement Monday that USDA officials have begun to reach out to international organizations and are emphasizing that H1N1, also known as swine flu, cannot be contracted by eating pork products.

The USDA's National Veterinary Services Laboratories confirmed the presence of H1N1 after an initial test suggested that as many as three pigs may have had the virus.

CBSNews.com Special Report: H1N1 Virus

USDA officials say the infection of a so-called show pig doesn't indicate an infection of commercial herds because show pigs are in separate segments of the swine industry.

Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

USDA Prepares For Swine Flu To Hit U.S. Herds

September 11, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government expects swine flu to reach domestic pigs this year, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture is seeking to speed a hog vaccine.

Producers are being asked to follow protocols such as reporting cases to veterinarians or the government, removing affected swine from their herds and avoiding contact with infected animals.

The USDA has given several animal vaccine manufacturers the "master seed virus" from the swine flu strain now circulating among humans.

Scientists have said humans cannot contract swine flu by eating pork, which the USDA representatives reiterated on Thursday.

"We expect that influenza H1N1 will hit our swine herds, and that's why we're making the preparations that we're making," Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan told reporters on a conference call Thursday.

Pigs can get influenza just like humans do, said Dr. John Clifford, chief veterinarian for the USDA's animal-health division. They typically recover and have few deaths. So far, H1N1 infections of swine herds have been reported in Canada, Australia and Argentina, he said, but not the U.S., yet.

"We are saying to producers and to their veterinarians when pigs are sick with influenza, they should recover before they should be moved to other facilities or to slaughter," he said. "Then they're perfectly healthy and fine to move on."

The animals will be safe to slaughter and be eaten, he said.

Clifford said the USDA will help investigate cases where humans may have come into contact with affected pigs.

Producers have been concerned that an outbreak would hurt the already-struggling pork industry. Producers have been hit by record high feed costs last year and slower exports as foreign countries like China limit their U.S. pork purchases due to concerns about swine flu.

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