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Pandemic H1N1 Hits Commercial U. S. Herd

The pandemic H1N1 influenza virus has been found for the first time in a commercial swine herd, the U. S. Agriculture Department said Nov. 2.

The sick herd was found in Indiana, the USDA said, noting both the pigs and their caretakers have fully recovered from the virus, commonly called swine flu. USDA said the Indiana facility has continued its routine processing practices because it is safe for swine that recover from influenza viruses to be slaughtered.

A USDA spokesman said it could not release the city, name of the facility or the size of the herd where the pandemic H1N1 virus was found “in order to ensure continued high levels of participation in swine surveillance efforts, and because this is not a food safety or public health risk.”

“It’s expected that pigs will get this particular flu strain just like pigs every year get the flu,” said Dave Warner of the National Pork Producers Council, who added he would not be surprised to see more cases of pandemic H1N1 in U. S. hogs.

The new strain of H1N1 virus, which has genetics from swine, birds and humans, likely circulated undetected in pigs for at least a decade before jumping to humans, according to an expert at the University of Arizona.

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