At least one pig from Minnesota has tested positive for the H1N1 virus, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Monday, the first case of a pig contracting the virus in the United States.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement that USDA officials have begun to reach out to U.S. trade partners and international organizations to emphasize that H1N1, also known as swine flu, cannot be contracted by eating pork products.
Monday's news comes after the USDA announced on Friday that it would test samples from three pigs collected between Aug. 26 and Sept. 1 at the Minnesota State Fair. The samples — from a university research project — showed potential positive tests for H1N1.
USDA officials have said that the pigs did not show signs of sickness, and officials suggested they likely contracted the virus from some of the nearly 1.8 million people who visited the fair.
Officials also said the infection of a so-called show pig doesn't indicate an infection of commercial herds because show pigs are in separate segments of agriculture than the swine industry.
The industry expected that the H1N1 virus would eventually turn up in domestic swine and had enhanced biosecurity measures to protect their pigs from people, said David Preisler, executive director of the Minnesota Pork Board. Herd infections were also already reported in Canada, Australia, Argentina, Ireland, the United Kingdom and Norway. A hog vaccine for the virus is being developed but isn't yet available, according to the Associated Press' report.
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