First human-to-pig case of flu reported in Canada

May 3rd, 2009 - 10:44 am ICT by IANS  

Toronto, May 3 (IANS) With swine flu cases rising sharply to 85, Canadian authorities Saturday confirmed the first case where pigs contracted the H1N1 virus from a man who had just returned from Mexico.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said this could be first case of human-to-animal transmission of the virus during the current global outbreak. The case was detected on a swine farm in Alberta province where a Canadian, who returned from Mexico on April 12, was working.

“This person was exhibiting flu-like symptoms following the return, and may have exposed swine on the farm to an influenza virus,” said Brian Evans of the Canadian Food Agency.

He said though the traveller has recovered, the farm pigs have been found to be infected with the H1N1 virus that is spreading around the world.

The health official added: “We have determined that the virus H1N1, found in these pigs, is the virus which is being tracked in the human population.”

With 34 new cases of the flu taking the national total to 85 Saturday, the Public Health Agency of Canada said it has received an additional 200 specimens from the Mexican Ministry of Health for testing.

The agency said its scientists at the National Microbiology Laboratory have also started full genome sequencing of the H1N1 flu virus to better understand the virus and its impact on populations around the world.

Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq said Canada has sent seven health officials to Mexico to assist in disease investigation.

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