|Subject||PRO/AH> Influenza A (H1N1): animal health (14), EU preparedness, Egypt|
Date: Mon 15 Jun 2009
Source: EFSA website [edited]
Brainstorming of scientists, risk assessors and risk managers on the
novel A(H1N1) influenza virus at the human animal interface; "What
needs to be done in Europe in the next months?;" Brussels, 9 Jun 2009
Conclusions of the Commission assisted by EFSA and ECDC.
1. It is expected that the novel influenza virus A(H1N1) will
continue to circulate and spread in the human population in Europe in
the coming months, in particular in autumn and winter.
2. Probable human-to-pig transmission of the novel virus has been
described on one occasion in Canada, and experiments in Europe have
shown that the pigs are susceptible to the novel virus [The
human-to-pig transmission in Canada has been put in doubt; see 20090615.2215. - Mod.AS].
3. Given the continued spread of this novel virus in the human
population, the risk of it entering pig farms in Europe will,
therefore, increase in the next months.
4. From an animal health perspective, current evidence from the
single field outbreak and findings from experimental studies suggest
that this novel virus in its current form is unlikely to cause more
significant health problems in pigs than those already seen by the
swine influenza viruses circulating in pigs in Europe, which is
self-limiting infection of the respiratory tract with some morbidity
but generally leading to uneventful recovery.
5. From a human health perspective, the direct and indirect
human-to-human routes of transmission will continue to pose the
highest risk and account for all human infections. A sustained
circulation of this virus in pigs may pose an additional risk for
transmission to humans for people in close contact with infected pigs.
6. However, swine influenza is not a food-borne zoonosis. Moreover,
there is no evidence suggesting that this novel virus behaves in a
different way from the other swine influenza viruses and spreads to
humans via food containing pork or pork products. With regard to
infection of pigs via feeding, account should be taken of the
intra-species feeding ban. This is also supported by the initial data
on experimental infection of piglets that have become available in
recent weeks, indicating infection of only the respiratory tract and
no other tissues and absence of detectable viraemia. Therefore, the
recommendations issued by the relevant European and international
organizations adequately address the issue of food safety in relation
7. The measures to be taken on pig farms addressing human-to-pig
transmission, pig-to-pig transmission and pig-to-human transmission
should be proportionate to: 1) the risk posed by pigs in the
transmission of the novel virus to humans, if any, compared to the
role played by human-to-human transmission, 2) the severity of
disease in animals and humans, and 3) risk factors in humans.
8. The most important measure for reducing the risk of human-to-pig
transmission is the implementation of bio-security measures on pig
farms aimed in particular at reducing the risk that people infected
with the novel influenza are in contact with pigs.
9. However, over and above the seasonal vaccination against influenza
in human, vaccination of staff working in contact with pigs to
protect against the novel virus, when specific vaccines are
available, should be considered by authorities as a possible
additional measure to reduce the risk of virus circulation between
humans and pigs.
10. Vigilance on possible circulation of the novel virus in pig farms
should be enhanced.
11. Surveillance for the novel virus in pig farms should: 1) in the
context of risk management, focus on timely detection of virus on
farms with a known risk of human-to-pig transmission; and 2) in the
context of risk assessment and research, be aimed at improving our
understanding of the risk of possible circulation of virus in pig
farms and its possible impact on public health and also monitor its
12. If surveillance activities based on investigations and sampling
are carried out in pig farms in order to detect the novel virus, they
should be focused on pigs that potentially have been exposed to
infected humans and those showing respiratory signs.
13. The data generated by the surveillance/monitoring activities of
the ESNIP project have been very informative and useful, and the
activities should be continued and intensified.
14. The veterinary and public health authorities in the Member States
should ensure that adequate information is provided to pig farmers,
private veterinarians, and general practitioners on the prevention
and surveillance measures above and that the veterinary laboratories
have the necessary diagnostic capability.
15. It is too early at this stage to envisage a role of vaccines in
the prevention and control of the novel virus in pigs.
16. In case novel virus is detected on a pig farm, proportionate
measures to protect humans from this occupational risk should be
implemented, particularly for persons most likely to experience
17. Measures to be taken on pig farms in the next months should,
however, be flexible, allowing an adaptation to a possible further
evolution of the virus and to its transmission patterns.
18. It is highly desirable that in the EU the initiatives of all
stakeholders, including risk assessors, risk managers and
researchers, be coordinated so that joint efforts result in a more
efficient achievement of the objectives. This should in particular
include information exchange on collection and analysis of data,
identification of gaps for research, and formal risk assessment.
19. The guidelines that the relevant international organizations are
preparing on biosecurity and surveillance on pig farms will help to
shape the EU response to this potential threat.
[The other documents presented or produced during the "brainstorming
meeting" in Brussels on 9 Jun 2009 can be accessed online at
The presentations include, among other things, animal experiments
with the new virus (Pathogenesis and Transmission Studies) carried
out by the EU, Canada and the USA. - Mod.AS]
Date: Mon 15 Jun 2009
From: Diaa Elyan <email@example.com>
We have learned that different influenza A viruses known to cause
disease in humans have recently been isolated/detected in pigs; e.g.
China [H3N2, H5N1], Indonesia [H5N1], Canada [H1N1]. Interestingly,
most of those cases were either classified as either mild infections
or even have passed without significant illness.
To better understand the implications of these findings, researchers
around the globe have engaged in performing detailed surveillance in
pigs in locations where all or some of the said strains are reported. Scientists have also expressed interest in conducting some lab
experiments to understand the probability of virus genetic
exchange/reassortment and possible pathogenicity and the role of pigs
as mixing vessels/pathways for emergence of a potential pandemic
Have those researchers who isolated/detected the above mentioned
influenza virus isolates in pigs published the genetic analysis and
discussed their relatedness to human and/or avian strains?
Communicated by:Diaa Elyan
CTR EG NAMRU3, Cairo, Egypt
[A valid question, especially within the One Health concept. Some of
the sought information is included in the presentations discussed in
item 1. Responses will be welcomed.
It will also be interesting to note whether NAMRU3 has been involved
in testing pigs for influenza A viruses in Egypt. - Mod.AS]
Date: 12 Jun 2009
Egypt hunts last pigs as three new swine flu cases confirmed
As the number of confirmed cases of the A(H1N1), or swine flu, virus
continued to climb in Egypt, the government vowed to redouble its
efforts to hunt down the country's last surviving pigs. Assistant
Health Minister Nasr al-Sayid on Friday confirmed three new cases of
the disease, which the World Health Organization on Thursday labelled
a global pandemic.
Al-Sayid said the three new cases had come from Canada, Sweden, and
the United States, and that they had been taken to hospital for
isolation and treatment, Egypt's official Middle East News Agency
(MENA) reported Friday.
The Ministry of Health said the three cases brought the total number
of confirmed cases of swine flu in Egypt to 15.
As new confirmed infections continued to trickle in, the Egyptian
government redoubled its efforts to hunt down the country's last
Hamid Samaha, the head of Egypt's General Authority for Veterinary
Services, on Friday said government inspectors had found two
surviving pigs in Giza, just across the river from Cairo. The pigs
were culled on the spot, MENA reported.
Samaha said the government had so far killed 15,000 pigs, and that it
expected to kill all remaining Egyptian swine by the end of next week.
He added the government would vaccinate 60 million fowl as part of
its campaign against the related H5N1, or bird flu, virus.
Last week, a four-year-old girl from the Nile Delta province of
Daqahliya became the 27th person to die of bird flu in Egypt. Hers
was the 72nd confirmed case of that virus in the country, MENA said.
Pacific Veterinary List