November 17, 2011


Hong Kong finds no A/H1N1 virus in pigs


Hong Kong's Centre for Food Safety (CFS) Wednesday (Nov 16) announced that no A/H1N1 influenza viruses were detected in samples from pigs taken during August to mid-October.


The results reported were under a regular influenza virus surveillance programme conducted by the University of Hong Kong (HKU) at the Sheung Shui Slaughterhouse. Among some 1,000 samples tested, no A/H1N1 virus was detected.


However, 15 samples were found to contain a virus that was essentially a swine influenza H3N2 virus but had picked up some genes of human swine influenza virus. The same virus was also found in the last round of surveillance programme for May to July.


Professor JSM Peiris, the HKU expert in charge of the surveillance programme, reiterated that this swine influenza H3N2 virus, which carried the genes of the A/H1N1 virus, is unlikely to cause any major human health risk or problems in food safety.


The CFS would continue to monitor reports of the programme and make announcements on a regular basis.


"Results will be announced immediately if there are significant public health impacts," the centre said.


The CFS has been liaising closely with the Mainland authorities on any abnormal situation in the Mainland farms supplying live pigs to Hong Kong and farm inspection would be stepped up when necessary.


Under the surveillance programme, the CFS has been helping the HKU researchers by collecting blood, tracheal and nasal swabs from pigs at the Sheung Shui Slaughterhouse twice a month.

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