Canada changes H1N1 management tactics for hogs

by Bryan Salvage
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OTTAWA, ONTARIO — In response to the fallout resulting from the H1N1 virus in 2009 among hogs, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency will no longer quarantine herds of hogs. Instead, affected animals will be managed using the same veterinary management and biosecurity practices employed for other swine influenza viruses.

This includes limiting opportunities for virus to spread to susceptible animals. Canada's slaughter system contains multiple inspection points to ensure that only healthy animals enter the food supply. This approach is supported by Provincial and Territorial authorities and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Canada’s change in strategy is consistent with the recommendations of the World Organization for Animal Health (O.I.E.), and is based on research and observations made since the virus was first detected in swine, which indicate:

  • There is no food-safety risk associated with the virus
  • There is no evidence at this time that animals are playing a significant role in the spread of the virus in the general human population; and,
  • The virus does not behave any differently in pigs from other influenza viruses commonly detected in swine herds.

All herds in which the virus is detected will be monitored to verify the infected animals recover. Surveillance for the presence of H1N1 in swine will continue, to detect any changes in how the virus affects swine and to identify any changes in the structure of the virus. Producers are encouraged to reinforce biosecurity measures at their facilities.

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