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Saskatchewan Hog Farm Under the Microscope

A novel non-pandemic influenza A virus has been confirmed in two hog farm workers in a hog operation at Big Sky Farms in North Eastern Saskatchewan and a third case is under investigation. The workers have since fully recovered. The Ministry of Health and Ministry of Agriculture are working with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to better understand the implications of the virus and to monitor and respond to the situation as required. The Public Health Agency has contacted the World Health Organization. The Province is also taking precautionary action as a result of the detected virus. These measures include: heightened surveillance of humans and hogs, reinforced bio-security on the affected hog operation, and vaccination of hog farm workers in the affected operation. Health experts believe the new strain is responsive to the current seasonal influenza vaccine. The Hog operation in question will be closely monitored in the coming weeks.

In a Press Release issued on Tuesday, Health officials had the following comments on the latest development: “We remain vigilant in our commitment to protect the health and safety of all Saskatchewan residents," Saskatchewan's Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Moira McKinnon said. "Our ongoing surveillance detected the new strain, and we will continue to aggressively monitor and test Saskatchewan residents in the affected area."

"There are no signs that pigs are infected with the disease," Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Greg Douglas said. "We are working closely with CFIA to ensure that any risks from the virus are dealt with. It is important to remember that only healthy hogs go to slaughter and that pork is safe to eat. Influenza is not transmitted by eating pork products."

Copyright Overtime Communications Ltd. 2015