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Avian Influenza (Bird Flu):
Influenza A (H1N1):
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Influenza A (H1N1):
About Influenza A (H1N1)
If the currently reported cases of human infections are not due to contact with pigs, why was it called swine flu?
The World Animal Health Organisation (OIE) has declared that the flu virus currently infecting humans should not be called "swine flu", as it also contains avian and human components and no pigs have been found ill with the disease so far. The virus has not been discovered in animals to date.
How do humans become infected?
The confirmed human Influenza A (H1N1) cases in Mexico, US and Canada come from human-to-human transmission and not contact with pigs.
What is Influenza A (H1N1)?
Influenza A (H1N1) is a contagious respiratory disease of pigs. The disease is common 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.
Should people avoid exposure to pigs?
The current human Influenza A (H1N1) is being transmitted between humans, not from pigs to people. However, as humans can spread the disease to pigs, individuals with flu symptoms should avoid close contact with pigs to reduce the possibility of disease transmission to the animal population.
Has this new Influenza A (H1N1) been detected in pigs imported into Singapore?
No. There is also no report of the infection in pigs in USA or elsewhere. This new strain has only been found in humans and has not been isolated from animals. Nonetheless SFA is closely monitoring developments.
AVAs Enhanced Measures
Should the new Influenza A (H1N1) grow out of control, how will Singapore's supply be affected?
Singapore has diversified our sources of supply over the years. Currently we have 25 approved countries exporting pork and pork products to us. In times when our supply from one source is affected, we will switch to other sources.
Some countries have stopped importing pork from the USA. Will Singapore impose a similar import suspension? Why?
Singapore imports pork and pork products only from SFA-approved sources. Mexico is not an approved country to export meat products to Singapore.
The current human cases have no history of contact with pigs. There are no reports of the new Influenza A (H1N1) virus in pig farms in the USA or elsewhere. The new virus strain has not been isolated from pigs or other farm animals. Hence, import suspension of pork will not be taken at this juncture. SFA will continue to monitor the situation closely.
SFA is also in contact with its counterparts in the US, and will also work closely with MOH and other authorities on this aspect.
What precautionary measures are taken by SFA to keep the virus out of Singapore?
SFA has stepped up inspection and surveillance of the pig farm at Pulau Bulan, and the testing of the pigs to ensure that they are not infected with the virus found in the current outbreaks.
When the imported pigs arrived at the pig abattoir in Singapore, they are further inspected before and after slaughter. SFA also requires abattoir workers and SFA staff, who have contact with pigs to don protective attire, such as face shields and protective clothes.
SFA will test incoming pork imports from the US as well as other sources for the flu virus as a precautionary measure, even though there is no danger of contracting Influenza A (H1N1) from pork.
Under what situation will SFA consider banning import of pork/pigs?
SFA will consider banning imports of pork/pigs from a country if this specific new strain of the flu virus is found to infect pigs in that country.
Is it safe to come into contact with pigs in nature reserves and the wildlife reserves?
The new Influenza A (H1N1) virus is not transmitted from animals to humans. Nevertheless, visitors to such facilities should always observe proper hygiene practices, such as washing of hands after contact with any animals.
There are some pigs at the Zoo and Night Safari. Is it safe to visit these places?
The Zoo and Night Safari do not keep domestic pigs as part of their exhibits. Their exotic pigs are kept in enclosed exhibits surrounded by moats and away from the visitors. It is safe to visit these attractions.
Can I catch Influenza A (H1N1) from eating pork and pork products?
No. The WHO, OIE and US CDC have stated that the Influenza A (H1N1) virus is not spread by food. In any case, eating properly handled and cooked pork and pork products is safe. Cooking pork to an internal temperature of 70℃ kills all bacteria and viruses, including the Influenza A (H1N1) virus. Similarly, eating properly processed meat products, such as ham, bacon, sausages, canned meat, is safe.
How safe is our pork in Singapore?
Singapore only imports pork and pork products from SFA-approved sources. At the approved export abattoirs, only healthy pigs, which pass inspection, are allowed to proceed for slaughter. The slaughtered pigs are then subject to post-mortem inspection. Only meat that pass inspection as fit for human consumption is exported to Singapore. When the pork products arrive in Singapore, they are inspected and sampled regularly for testing.
The pig farm on Pulau Bulan, Indonesia, is Singapore's only source of pigs. SFA regularly inspects the farm to ensure that it maintains a high level of biosecurity and that only healthy pigs are sent to Singapore. In addition, SFA collects samples from pigs for lab tests to ensure that they are free from various diseases, including the human Influenza A (H1N1).
What is SFA's advice to pork handlers in the market?
The Influenza A (H1N1) virus is not transmitted by food. According to the US CDC, OIE and WHO, there is also no evidence to suggest that someone can become infected by Influenza A (H1N1) from eating pork or pork products. Pork handlers should continue to exercise good personal hygiene in their work.
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