Zoonotic Diseases

H1N1 Flu Virus (Human Influenza)

CFIA: Advice for Veterinarians and Swine Producers

H1N1 Flu Virus (Human Swine Influenza) - Advice for Veterinarians and Swine Producers

Preliminary testing conducted by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) indicates the presence of H1N1 flu virus in a swine herd in Alberta. The pigs were likely exposed to the virus from an individual who had recently returned from Mexico and had been exhibiting flu-like symptoms. Signs of illness were subsequently observed in the pigs. All pigs have since recovered or are recovering.

The herd has been placed under quarantine, and the CFIA is working with public health colleagues to determine the most appropriate next steps to ensure that public and animal health remain protected.

The CFIA is asking veterinarians and producers to increase their biosecurity measures to limit any risks to animal health.

The safety of the food supply is not affected. Influenza viruses do not affect the safety of pork, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). As with any raw meat, pork should always be properly handled and cooked to eliminate a range of food safety concerns.

What is swine influenza?

Swine influenza is a contagious respiratory disease of pigs. The disease is commonly seen in North and South America, Asia and Europe. Illness is caused by Type A Influenza viruses, which also affect a range of other animals, as well as humans.

Influenza viruses are commonly detected in pigs, which can become infected by humans, birds or other pigs. The transfer of influenza from pigs to humans is rare and usually involves close contact with sick animals. However, the CFIAis following a highly precautionary approach to minimize potential human and animal health risks, no matter how remote they may be. All appropriate measures will be taken to prevent any potential virus dissemination during the operation.

The CFIAis working with its provincial and territorial counterparts to monitor swine herds and to encourage producers to maintain strict disease prevention measures.

What are the symptoms in pigs?

Signs of swine influenza include the following:

How can pigs be protected?

The following actions can potentially prevent swine influenza:

What precautions should producers take to limit the risk of introducing and spreading disease?

Traffic control:



Herd health management:

Program maintenance:

What precautions should veterinarians take when investigating respiratory illnesses in swine?

The CFIArecommends that veterinarians:

Until more is known about how this illness affects swine, if swine influenza is suspected - do not travel to another swine farm for 48 hours.

For more detailed information on biosecurity measures recommended for disease investigation farm visits please contact your local CFIAoffice.

For additional information: www.inspection.gc.ca