Business & Policy
Be Safe, Not Sorry
By Jim Knisley
May 6, 2009 – The incident of a worker infecting hogs with H1N1 in Alberta shows just how difficult it is to protect your livestock.
May 6, 2009 – A couple of weeks ago Manitoba hog producers met with veterinarians and government health officials.
The message from the meeting was clear – because of the H1N1 virus producers should be especially careful to try to ensure the disease didn’t spread from humans to hogs.
Then it happened on an Alberta farm.
The Alberta situation shows just how difficult it is to protect your livestock.
One of the farm workers had been in Mexico. He returned before the flu outbreak was identified let alone publicized. He didn’t show any symptoms and returned to work.
By the time the symptoms of his flu were evident it was too late. The hogs had picked up the disease.
While they have been treated and are reportedly fine, the same can’t be said for the hog market. Prices on the Chicago exchange went limit down for a week.
While this version of H1N1 has shown no indication that it can jump from people to poultry, no one can be absolutely sure it won’t.
The disease does contain traces of human, swine and avian flu. This could make the possibility of a species jump possible.
While some of the concerns over this flu may be overblown, it is better to be safe rather than sorry.
This would be a good time to make sure that your biosecurity is tight. If you or any of your employees is not feeling well stay out of the barn until you can be sure it isn’t the flu.
While poultry may not be susceptible to this flu, do you really want to take the chance?