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Pig sample tests positive for human swine influenza virus

     A spokesman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) confirmed today (December 10) that a nasal swab sample taken at a local pig farm on November 26 was tested positive for human swine influenza (pandemic influenza A H1N1) virus.

    The pig farm is located in Kam Tin, Yuen Long, with around 1,200 pigs being raised on it.  All pigs on the farm were found clinically healthy during AFCD recent inspections. The farm's owner and farm workers have no clinical signs of influenza. AFCD has informed the Centre for Health Protection for necessary follow up action.

    "As a precautionary measure, AFCD has stopped the farm to send the batch of some 100 pigs which contains the pig tested positive for A H1N1 virus for slaughtering.@AFCD has started collecting more samples from pigs on this farm and all results are negative so far. We will continue to monitor the farm closely", the spokesman said.

    AFCD has collected samples from all local pig farms and they have tested negative so far.

     Other places have reported cases of human swine flu virus detected in pigs. Given the epidemiology of the virus and occurrence around the world, the presence of many confirmed human cases in Hong Kong, it is not unexpected that the pandemic strain A H1N1 virus has been found on a local pig farm.

    AFCD will continue to regularly inspect and monitor the health condition of pigs on local pig farms.  Any pig with clinical signs of swine influenza will be carefully examined and samples will be taken for diagnosis.

    "We have contacted local pig farmers and reminded them to stay vigilant, strictly implement biosecurity measures and maintain good farm and personal hygiene. Any abnormality in farms should be reported to AFCD immediately.  Pig farm owners and their workers should seek medical attention if they feel unwell."

    Advisory letter and health advice on the prevention of human swine influenza will be distributed to farmers during inspections.  

    "The Government will launch the human swine influenza vaccination programme on December 21. Those involved in pig farming and slaughtering trade are among the target groups. We encourage them to receive the vaccination as soon as possible", the spokesman said.

     The spokesman said that the World Health Organisation, World Organisation for Animal Health and Codex Alimentarius Commission had already stated that pork and pork products which were handled properly and thoroughly cooked were not a source of human swine influenza infection. Human swine flu virus is killed under a temperature of 70 degree Celsius or above.  It is safe for the public to eat pork and pork products that are handled properly and cooked thoroughly.

Ends/Thursday, December 10, 2009
Issued at HKT 20:38


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