First known case of pigs infected with the new swine flu virus has been identified in a Canadian firm as number of swine flu cases across the world is gradually rising with 19 deaths in Mexico and one in United States.
According a news report, officials in the Canadian province of Alberta said on Saturday that pigs on a Canadian firm have been identified with new strains of swine flu virus. It is reportedly the first known case of pigs being infected with this virus. It is suspected that a firm worker, who had recently been to Mexico, is responsible for transmitting this virus to the pigs.
The officials reportedly said that the sick worker returned from Mexico has recovered and all of the 200 infected pigs are recovering as well. They have also quarantined a number of animals after they discovered the new case of pig infection in order to prevent the spread of the virus beyond the firm.
Dr. Brian Evans, executive vice president with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, said: "Whatever virus these pigs were exposed to is behaving in that exact manner as those we regularly see circulating in North America and in swine herds in virtually every nation around the world."
He also added that the new virus has shown no signs of mutation when passing from human to pig.
Evans reportedly told in a news conference that detection of influenza in pigs does not pose food safety risk and there is no harm in eating pork from the infected pigs. He said: "The chance that these pigs could transfer virus to a person is remote.”
The World Health Organization has already insisted that they did not find any evidence that pigs could transmit the flu virus to humans, or that eating pork poses an infection risk.
On Saturday, in a joint statement, The United Nations' Food and Agriculture and World Health Organization, along with the World Trade Organization and the World Organization for Animal Health have said anti-pork trade measures taken by many countries like Russia and China are meaningless since there is no evidence the virus is spread by food.
US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said there have been no reports of the presence of new swine flu virus in US pigs. He also noted that the infected pigs in Canada have been quarantined. He said: "This detection does not change the situation here in the United States.”
According to a research conducted by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the outbreak of swine flu in pigs is quite common throughout the world, with 25 percent of animals showing antibody evidence of infection.
Meanwhile, on late Saturday swine flu cases in Mexico have reportedly jumped by about 25 to 473, including 19 deaths. Health Secretary Jose Angel Cordova said there were 11 cases of people suspected to have died from the virus in the last 24 hours. A Mexican toddler also reportedly died in Texas days ago, for a worldwide total of 20, while the global caseload of swine flu infection is nearing 800 and growing — the vast majority in Mexico, the United States and Canada.
US President Barack Obama has urged caution on Saturday. He said: "This is a new strain of the flu virus, and because we haven't developed an immunity to it, it has more potential to cause us harm.”