FEHD releases latest results of influenza virus surveillance in pigs
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The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) today (February 14) announced the latest round of results of the regular influenza virus surveillance programme for pigs at the Sheung Shui Slaughterhouse conducted by the University of Hong Kong (HKU).

Among some 1,500 samples collected and tested from mid-October 2011 to January 2012, one sample tested positive for the human swine influenza virus (pandemic H1N1).

A total of 27 samples were found to contain viruses that were essentially swine influenza viruses but had picked up some genes of human swine influenza virus. Among them, two samples were detected with a swine influenza, H3N2, while the remaining 25 samples had H1N2. Swine influenza viruses carrying the genes of the human swine influenza virus were also found in the last two rounds of the surveillance programme (i.e. for May to July and August to October last year).

According to Professor JSM Peiris, the HKU expert in charge of the surveillance programme, given the wide transmission of the pandemic H1N1 virus in humans, detection of the virus in pigs is no surprise. Positive findings might continue to appear from time to time in future.

"There have been similar reports from many parts of the world showing that swine influenza viruses carried the genes of the human swine influenza virus. Such viruses are unlikely to pose any major human health risk or cause problems in food safety," Professor Peiris added. Read More

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