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Concerns as swine flu continues to spread

Despite relaxation of restrictions in Mexico as case numbers of swine flu - or H1N1 - start to fall, officials report that it is too early to tell whether the outbreak has peaked. Person-to-person transmission has been confirmed in at least six countries and the first case of human-to-animal transmission has been reported in Canada with the detection of the A/H1N1 virus in pigs. FAO has warned national authorities and farmers to be vigilant and to investigate any occurrence of influenza-type symptoms in domestic animals.

Like the intensive poultry farms in Asia that allowed bird flu to flourish, it is possible that intensive farming systems in North America may be involved. Although FAO experts warn that the precise evolution of the virus may never be known, they have sent a team to Mexico to make further investigations. Meanwhile, health teams continue to treat those affected and remain vigilant for further cases whilst they wait to see if the virus dies down or mutates to become more virulent.

Date published: May 2009


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