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FOOD & BEVERAGE | Cesar Tordesillas, Hong Kong

No H1N1 detected in pigs from May to July

No human swine influenza virus or pandemic H1N1 was detected among 1,300 samples tested by the University of Hong Kong from May to July at the Sheung Shui Slaughterhouse.


This was announced by the Center for Food Safety of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department.

The tests were conducted under the regular influenza virus surveillance programme on pigs. 

However, 16 samples taken in June and July 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.

 A spokesman for the CFS said, "A case of swine influenza H1N1 virus carrying the genes of the human swine influenza virus was also found in the surveillance programme early last year. There have been reports from many parts of the world showing similar findings."

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

The spokesman said, "Given the fact that the human swine influenza virus has spread worldwide in humans and pigs have also been infected by this virus, the recent finding is not a cause for surprise. HKU is conducting further tests to learn more about this particular strain.

T he CFS spokesman said that all imported live pigs from the Mainland come from registered farms and are accompanied with animal health certificates issued by the Mainland authorities.

The CFS has been keeping close liaison with the Mainland authorities over any abnormal situation concerning Mainland farms supplying live pigs to Hong Kong, and farm inspection would be stepped up when necessary, the spokesman added.

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