FAO has again urged national authorities and farmers to carefully monitor pigs and investigate any occurrences of influenza-like symptoms in domestic animals following the detection of the A H1N1 virus in pigs in Canada transmitted by a human.
"The human-to-animal transmission that occurred in Canada does not come as a surprise as influenza viruses are capable of transmitting from humans to animals," FAO's Chief Veterinary Officer Joseph Domenech said in a release from the organization.
"The Canadian event should therefore not be a matter of panic, but it should remind us of the human-animal link in virus transmission on which we definitely need to keep an eye."
With genetically evolving viruses, FAO urges constant A H1N1 monitoring.
Influenza viruses, whether in humans or among animals, are constantly evolving genetically, along with changes in their ability to cause morbidity and mortality in humans or animals. Therefore the current A H1N1 situation should be carefully monitored as many of the virus characteristics and developments are still unknown, Domenech said.
- Intensified surveillance for porcine respiratory disease with all cases of porcine respiratory syndrome immediately reported to veterinary authorities.
- Informing OIE and FAO of any occurrence of outbreaks of the new A H1N1 influenza virus in pigs immediately.
- Strict biosecurity measures including restriction of movements of pigs, goods and people applied on all farms or holdings with swine showing signs of clinical respiratory illness until diagnosis has been made.
- Restrict movement for seven days after the last animal has recovered where A H1N1 influenza is confirmed.
- Full support in improving biosecurity measures particularly to small and medium pig farmers from governments.
- Urge persons who work directly with swine not to go to work if they have any signs of respiratory disease, fever or any influenza-like illness.
- Protective clothing for animal handlers and veterinarians to minimize the risk of infection.
FAO stressed that there is absolutely no need to slaughter animals in view of preventing circulation of the A H1N1 virus.
The agency emphasized that the A H1N1 virus cannot be transmitted to humans by pork and pork products.