FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, APRIL 27, 2009
Brian Long, director
NCDA&CS Public Affairs
(919) 733-4216, ext. 242
Troxler encourages pork producers
to practice good bio-security on their farms
RALEIGH — Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler encourages North Carolina pork producers to enhance bio-security on their farms as a result of the swine influenza virus type H1N1 being reported in humans in some U.S. states by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
At this time, no pigs in the United States have been found to be infected or sick with the virus. It is not known whether this new strain causes any type of illness in swine.
Still, good bio-security practices are essential to minimizing risk to farms, Troxler said. “Because people in the United States have been reported sick with this virus, I encourage farmers to place special emphasis on protecting your animals and your workers by monitoring everyone who has access to your operation,” he said.
Pork producers should take several precautions, including the following:
- Do not loan equipment or vehicles to or borrow them from other farms. Swine from outside sources, such as live markets, should not be brought back to the farm.
- Permit only essential workers and vehicles to enter the farm. Swine workers should practice good hygiene, including disinfecting their shoes, clothes and hands. They should thoroughly clean and disinfect equipment and vehicles entering and leaving the farm, and avoid visiting other livestock farms without proper cleaning and disinfection.
- Be aware of recent international travel by workers.
- Monitor workers for signs of flu-like symptoms.
- Report sick animals to your veterinarian immediately. Signs of swine flu in pigs can include sudden onset of fever, depression, coughing or barking, discharge from the nose or eyes, sneezing, breathing difficulties, eye redness or inflammation, and loss of appetite.
The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is working with state public health officials, other agencies and pork producers to monitor the situation. The NCDA&CS works with federal, state and local agriculture and public health officials to foster cooperation on human and animal health issues through a “one medicine” approach.
The department constantly monitors swine herds for the presence of influenza and other diseases. In addition, in recent years the department has conducted numerous exercises pertaining to influenza detection and response.
Scientists at the CDC and U.S. Department of Agriculture say that swine flu viruses are not transmitted by food, so you cannot get swine flu from eating cooked pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork or pork products is safe. Cooking pork to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit kills all viruses and other foodborne pathogens.