September 7, 2012
Influenza in pigs is like influenza in humans … it’s a regular occurrence, and although it needs to be managed, there’s no need to fear pork or pork products.
That’s the message this afternoon from John Coward, a pork industry veteran and current president of industry group Queensland Pork Inc.
A Biosecurity Queensland spokesman confirmed today that a commercial piggery near Kingaroy had been quarantined as a precaution after a higher number of deaths than usual occurred in a group of pigs.
These deaths have been linked to Influenza A and bacterial infections.
The piggery is a “farrow to finish” breeding property with about 400 animals.
“Unfortunately it gets a bit sensationalised when someone says ‘quarantine’,” Mr Coward told southburnett.com.au
“Influenza is a regular occurrence, year in and year out, particularly at winter time, aligned to what you see in the workplace.
“Quarantine is only a simple way of managing it on the farm.”
Mr Coward said it was important to emphasise that only healthy pigs go to slaughter, and there is no risk of anyone getting sick from eating pork or pork products.
He said the pigs possibly caught the flu, which had been identified as the H1N2 variety, from a worker.
“It’s not an exotic disease; it’s a normal occurrence,” Mr Coward said.
“However the industry takes a very pro-active stance designed to limit its spread to other pigs. All pigs are kept under treatment until well.”
Biosecurity Queensland had taken blood samples at the piggery and had left strict instructions on how the animals were to be managed.
Inspectors from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry were also undertaking regular checks.
Mr Coward said pigs cannot be sent to slaughter until they have shown no symptoms for seven days, and they cannot be sent to other piggeries.
A statement from Biosecurity Queensland said about 40 pigs had died at the piggery after showing respiratory signs.
Other groups of pigs on the property were healthy.
“Influenza A in pigs can be caught from people and then spread among the pigs. There is no evidence that the workers on the piggery have caught anything from the pigs,” the Biosecurity Queensland spokesman said.
“As a precaution, the property has been quarantined and movement restrictions have been put in place. Biosecurity measures on the property have been enhanced to contain the disease, limit its spread and to ensure workplace health and safety.
“Healthy pigs are being allowed to go to slaughter and there is no risk from eating pork or its products.
“In general, producers are reminded to ensure on-farm biosecurity plans and practices are up-to-date and should immediately report unusual health signs in their animals to a veterinarian.”
To avoid infecting their pigs with influenza, pig owners should: