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OIE reaction to trade restrictions imposed following transmission of virus “A/H1N1” from human to pigs

Paris, 7 May 2009 – Several countries around the world have imposed trade restrictions on countries exporting animals or products of animal origin that have declared human cases related to the new influenza of the type known as “A/H1N1”.

The imposition of ban measures related to the import of pigs and pig products do not comply with international standards published by the OIE and all other competent standard setting international bodies for animal health and food safety.

The first transmission of”A/H1N1” virus from human to pigs in a single herd was officially notified to the OIE by Canada on the 5 May 2009 ( http://www.oie.int/wahis/reports/en_imm_0000008065_20090505_191855.pdf ), based on provisions relating to emerging diseases contained in the OIE Code. The virus in question is the novel influenza virus “A/H1N1”; in contrast, the disease linked with the “classical” swine influenza virus is different and is not notifiable to the OIE since it is mild in pigs and the infection only rarely seriously affects humans.

The OIE will develop appropriate standards for this emerging disease. In the meantime, and until new standards have been adopted by its 174 Member Countries and Territories, the OIE recommends that all animals from the currently infected Canadian farm be maintained in strict isolation, and that quarantine from the farm not be lifted until it has been rigorously demonstrated by the Veterinary Services of the country concerned that there are no pigs infected with the “A/H1N1” virus at the farm. This recommendation would also apply to any other country that should experience a similar situation.

The OIE confirms and reiterates its recommendations already published jointly with WHO, FAO and the WTO on the 2 May 2009 regarding the safety of pork and pork products.

The OIE also issues a reminder that in all countries of the world the Veterinary Services are responsible for ensuring that no sick animal, regardless of the disease, is slaughtered for human consumption.

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