PARIS — In the aftermath of the World Health Organization's recent declaration the novel influenza A/H1N1 has reached phase six of an influenza global pandemic, the World Organization for Animal Health (O.I.E.) said it maintains its previous recommendations made to international animal-health authorities.

"A/H1N1 is indeed a public health issue for all worldwide, but so far the role of animals has not been demonstrated in its epidemiology or spread. Thus, recommendations we made since the start of this crisis remain valid," said Dr. Bernard Vallat, O.I.E. director general.

Public and animal-health experts worldwide will continue their joint effort on scientific research aimed at better understanding the virus and providing sound, science-based recommendations to prevent and control the novel A/H1N1.

O.I.E. recommends:

  • National veterinary services must effectively monitor animal populations for clinical signs of disease, use appropriate confirmation diagnostic methods and quickly report occurrences of the disease, if any, in animals to the O.I.E. on the basis of an emerging disease.
  • Pork and pork products, handled in accordance with good hygienic practices recommended by the W.H.O., F.A.O., Codex Alimentarius Commission and The O.I.E., are not a source of infection.
  • The imposition of ban measures related to the import of pigs and pork products from countries with human cases of A/H1N1 are pointless and do not comply with international standards published by the O.I.E. and all other competent standard-setting international bodies for animal health and food safety.
  • The O.I.E. advises its members that the culling of pigs will not help to guard against public or animal health risks presented by this novel A/H1N1 influenza virus and that such action is not recommended.
  • In the case of countries deciding to cull pigs on the basis of the principle of precaution, culling of animals should always be carried out in accordance with O.I.E. international standards on animal welfare and killing methods for disease control purposes (Volume 1; Section 7; Chapter 7.6 of the Terrestrial Animal Health Code.