The OIE strongly counsels against theculling of pigs in the current situation with A/H1N1 influenza as thereis no evidence of infection in pigs, or of humans acquiring infectiondirectly from pigs.
According to scientific information currentlyavailable to the OIE and partner organisations, thisnovel A/H1N1 influenza virus is being transmitted purely amongst humans.
Moreover, and despite the fact thatthe currently circulating A/H1N1 influenza virus is not simply a swineinfluenza virus (it has reassortant genetic material of human, avianand swine origin), it is important to note that swine influenza has notbeen shown to be transmissible to people through eating pig meat orother products derived from pigs.
The OIE advises members that theculling of pigs will not help to guard against public or animal healthrisks presented by this novel A/H1N1 influenza virus and such action isinappropriate. Instead, members should focus their efforts onappropriate disease surveillance and strengthening the generalbiosecurity measures applied at premises where pigs are handled andslaughtered.
The OIE is collaborating with itsnetwork of reference laboratories and collaborating centres, as well aswith the World Health Organization and the UN Food and AgricultureOrganization in scientific investigations on the current situation andwill if needed issue further advice regarding biosecurity and trademeasures in due course. Thanks to these current investigations, thepathogenicity (if any) of the circulating virus for animals should beknown shortly and, once known, will be the subject of a furthercommunication from the OIE.
In the meantime, VeterinaryAuthorities should work in collaboration with human health counterpartsto monitor pig herds for any signs of unusual illness with suspectedlinkages to human cases of A/H1N1 influenza.
Unfortunately, this statement comes too late for Egypt. Egyptian Parliament voted on Wednesday (April 29) to slaughter all 300,000 pigs in the country.