EFSA is closely following the outbreak of new influenza virus type A (originally called “swine flu”) reported for the first time in humans in Mexico and the United States and notified to the World health. Consistent with its mandate, EFSA monitors particular aspects of the situation concerning animal health and food safety.
The virus in question in the current outbreak of human influenza – and also discovered in a pig farm in Canada – is a new strain of influenza virus H1N1. It contains genes from viruses of swine influenza, avian and human combined in a form that has never been observed before. This new virus is a reassortmen’t of viruses that have circulated in pigs in Europe, Asia and America since 1998.
The influenza virus type A can infect humans (human flu) and a range of animals including pigs (swine flu), birds and poultry (bird flu). The influenza virus usually affects the respiratory tract and is spread by direct contact or close proximity with humans or animals infected.
EFSA has no scientific evidence suggesting that influenza viruses can be transmitted to humans through consumption of meat such as pork products and pork.