2 Aug 2009

Flu precautions urged for pig farmers

8:49 am on 2 August 2009

The Ministry of Agriculture & Forestry is warning pig farmers with flu symptoms to stay away from their livestock to avoid passing on swine flu.

It follows the quarantining of a pig farm in New South Wales on Friday, where some livestock have been confirmed as having the virus and 280 pigs have been placed in quarantine.

MAF has no plans to stop pig imports from Australia.

MAF Biosecurity New Zealand says only a very small number of pigs are imported from Australia, and they will be monitored closely.

The ABC reports it is the first case of the virus among pigs in Australia. The State Government believes the animals probably caught the disease from workers at the piggery.

NSW Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald says the piggery's owner and staff have previously suffered flu-like symptoms and are being tested for swine flu by the health department.

Officials are still trying to determine how many have the virus.

MAF Biosecurity New Zealand says it is not unexpected for pigs to contract human viruses.

Animal response team manager Andre van Haldren says no pigs have been confirmed as having swine flu in New Zealand.

Dr van Halderen says farmers should monitor their pigs for signs of coughing, sneezing and loss of appetite. Any suspicions should be reported to MAF.