[health-vn] NO RISK OF GETTING INFLUENZA A(H1N1) VIRUS THROUGH FOOD, SAYS UN HEALTH AGENCY
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Mon May 4 10:28:53 EST 2009
Subject: NO RISK OF GETTING INFLUENZA A(H1N1) VIRUS THROUGH FOOD, SAYS UN HEALTH
Date: Sun, 3 May 2009 16:00:04 -0400
From: UNNews <UNNews at un.org>
To: <news9 at secint00.un.org>
NO RISK OF GETTING INFLUENZA A(H1N1) VIRUS THROUGH FOOD, SAYS UN HEALTH AGENCY
New York, May 3 2009 4:00PM
There is no reason to be afraid of consuming pork or to cull any pigs, the
United Nations health agency once again stressed today, despite the detection of
the influenza A(H1N1) virus in a swine herd in Canada.
"This is not a food-borne disease," Dr. Peter Ben Embarek, Food Safety Scientist
at the World Health Organization (<http://www.who.int/en/>WHO), emphasized at a
news conference in Geneva.
"You don't get this disease through eating pork and, therefore, there is no
reason to be afraid of consuming pork or pork products," he added.
"From all the studies that have been done with influenza viruses -- whether it's
avian influenza viruses, human viruses or swine viruses -- they all seem to have
more or less the same characteristics in terms of their heat resistance. As soon
as you cook a product that may contain these viruses, they will get inactivated.
fully-cooked or well-cooked products, whether we're talking about this virus in
pork or avian influenza virus in chickens, there is no risk of getting infected
that way," Dr. Embarek stated.
WHO announced today that Canada reported on 2 May the identification of the
A(H1N1) virus in a swine herd in Alberta.
"It is highly probable that the pigs were exposed to the virus from a Canadian
farm worker recently returned from Mexico, who had exhibited flu-like symptoms
and had contact with the pigs," the agency noted. "There is no indication of
virus adaptation through transfer from human to pigs at this time."
Dr. Embarek stated that there is at present no recommendation to cull any pigs
anywhere in the world.
Meanwhile, 18 countries have officially reported 898 human cases of influenza
A(H1N1) infection, according to WHO's latest update.
Mexico has reported 506 confirmed human cases of infection, including 19 deaths.
WHO reiterated that the higher number of cases from that country
in the past 48 hours reflects ongoing testing of previously collected specimens.
Meanwhile, the United States Government has reported 226 laboratory confirmed
human cases, including one death.
In addition, the following countries have reported laboratory confirmed cases
with no deaths: Austria (1), Canada (85), China, Hong Kong Special
Administrative Region (1), Costa Rica (1), Denmark (1), France (2), Germany (8),
Ireland (1), Israel (3), Italy (1), Netherlands (1), New Zealand (4), Republic
of Korea (1), Spain (40), Switzerland (1) and the United Kingdom (15).
WHO spokesperson Gregory Härtl told reporters that the agency's pandemic alert
still remains at Phase 5 -- on a six-level warning scale -- meaning that
sustained human to human transmission had been confirmed, with widespread
community outbreaks in at least two regions.
He said it was not possible to say when the alert level might be increased to
Phase 6. "That is not very easy to predict because transmission of influenz
a virus or of any virus for that matter does not necessarily always move at the
same speed. There could be a hiatus in its spread? especially we have not seen
any confirmed instances of sustained human transmission in communities outside
of the Americas.
"We don't know when that will happen. Certainly we remain on alert in case that
happens. But it would not be prudent to make a prediction in that regard," he
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