People endangering hogs?

Central Alberta hog farmers are being urged to step-up “biosecurity” measures after pigs at an Alberta farm came down with the same virus that sickened people around the world.

Central Alberta hog farmers are being urged to step-up “biosecurity” measures after pigs at an Alberta farm came down with the same virus that sickened people around the world.

Since humans can transmit the disease to the animals, the province’s 450 pig producers are being warned to keep ill people and unnecessary visitors away from their hogs.

Farmers who have come in contact with pigs, other than their own, should stay out of their barns for 48 hours, states an Alberta Pork release issued on Sunday.

Alberta Pork executive-director Paul Hodgman said most producers, especially those who supply breeding stock, are already very careful about not introducing health risks to their barns.

For instance, the majority of farmers routinely quarantine in-coming pigs for a month so problems can be identified before they enter the main herd.

But even more stringent precautions, included posted protocols, are now being urged to preserve Canada’s international trade relations and prevent further cases of Alberta hogs getting the virus.

China announced a ban on Alberta pork product imports Sunday, after about 220 pigs from a herd of 2,200 on a farm located somewhere between Calgary and Edmonton began showing signs of the flu on April 24. Provincial officials were notified on April 28, and the barn was quarantined and remains on quarantine.

Despite assurances that Alberta pork is safe ­— health and agriculture officials have stated that the Type A H1N1 virus can’t be transmitted through eating meat or other pork products — several smaller trading partners, including Honduras, also stopped importing Alberta pork.

Hodgman said China is considered one of Canada’s larger export markets, but the U.S. is the biggest and, so far, has no problem with Alberta pork products.

While he’s disappointed by the import bans, he hopes other countries will weigh the facts and not over-react, as has happened in Egypt, where people rioted Sunday over a decision to kill pigs there.

The infected Alberta hogs got a mild form of the virus and have either already recovered, or are recovering from the flu.

The Alberta farm worker, who came back from Mexico and introduced the virus to the hogs, is also in fine health now.

Hodgman said the worker was not a Mexico native.

It wasn’t necessary to cull any of the infected pigs, said Hodgman, because, while bacteria, such as E-coli can survive for a time on animal meat, viruses can’t.

“They need living hosts. They don’t go into animal meat.”

Unlike the BSE bacteria that stopped Alberta’s beef exports for months, he added the H1N1 virus has a very short incubation time, which is typical for an influenza virus.

While human deaths have been linked to the virus in Mexico, other countries seem to have imported only a mild version of the sickness. Seven new cases were reported in Alberta on the weekend, increasing Alberta’s human cases to 15. But none of these people have required hospitalization.

Hodgman praised the disease reporting protocols Alberta pork producers operate by, which worked well in identifying the sick animals this time.

He noted most pig barns have shower facilities for people entering and leaving, as well as clothes that are only to be worn by people inside barns.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A health worker holds up a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19 in Rome, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Cecilia Fabiano/LaPresse via AP
Health Canada approves AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine

Canada has pre-ordered 20 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine

A fallen Western Red cedar tree at Francis/King Regional Park in Saanich, B.C., Thursday, May 26, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Logging delay agreement for B.C. old-growth tree stand helps endangered spotted owls

Deal announced to hold off logging watershed for a year

An arrest by Red Deer RCMP is facing online scrutiny. No charges have been laid and the incident is still under investigation. (Screenshot of YouTube video)
Red Deer RCMP investigating violent arrest caught on video

Police say officer ‘acted within the scope of his duties’

Emily Keeping of Wetaskiwin, Alta., was last seen at 4:20 p.m. on Feb. 25, 2021 at the FasGas on 49 St and 50 Ave in Wetaskiwin. Supplied/ Wetaskiwin RCMP.
Wetaskiwin RCMP seek assistance in locating missing 11-year-old

Emily Keeping was last seen on Feb. 25, 2021 at the FasGas on 49 St and 50 Ave in Wetaskiwin.

FILE - Cameron Forte (right) and his Fraser Valley Bandits are 2-0 at the Canadian Elite Basketball League Summer Series after being the Saskatchewan Rattlers. (CEBL photo)
CEBL releases 14-game 2021 schedule, hopes to see fans attend games in person

Season will kick off with the Edmonton Stingers and the Fraser Valley Bandits

FILE - Keegan Messing performs during the Men’s Short program at the 2020 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships in Mississauga, Ont., Friday, Jan. 17, 2020. If the world figure skating championships do go ahead in a bubble in March in Sweden, there is a good chance Canada won’t be there. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Messing leads Canadian figure skating team at world championships

Messing was the only Canadian to compete on the Grand Prix circuit this season

Nurses episode, titled “Achilles Heel,” was first aired on Global in February 2020. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Global pulls ‘Nurses’ episode after scene with Orthodox Jews deemed anti-Semitic

TORONTO — Global TV says it has pulled an episode of Toronto-set… Continue reading

Lady Gaga is offering a $500,000 reward for the return of her two French bulldogs. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Lady Gaga’s dog walker shot, French bulldogs stolen in LA

Dog walker expected to survive injuries

Calgary Flames defenceman Mark Giordano tries to help goaltender David Rittich stop a shot from Ottawa Senators right wing Drake Batherson during first-period NHL action Thursday, February 25, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Colin White scores two goals to lead Ottawa Senators to a 6-1 win over Calgary Flames

Colin White scores two goals to lead Ottawa Senators to a 6-1 win over Calgary Flames

Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy Vice-Admiral Art McDonald is seen during an interview with The Canadian Press in Ottawa, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Military reeling as new defence chief steps aside amid allegations of misconduct

Military reeling as new defence chief steps aside amid allegations of misconduct

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a news conference in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2020. It’s budget day in the province, and Kenney’s United Conservative government is promising more help in the fight against COVID, but more red ink on the bottom line. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta’s budget promises more help for COVID-19 with a hard deficit

Alberta’s budget promises more help for COVID-19 with a hard deficit

Most Read