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Flu strain not proven to be from swine: FAO

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says it mobilizing its teams of experts to help ascertain if the new strain of H1N1 virus, which already killed many people in Mexico, has a direct connection to pigs.

In a statement, FAO said it is deploying a team of experts of the FAO OIE (World Organization for Animal Health) Crisis Management Centre — Animal Health (CMC-AH), to Mexico this week to help the government assess the epidemiologic situation in the pig production sector.

The FAO said that at present, transmission seems to be occurring solely from humans to humans and that so far evidence that the new strain of influenza A virus has entered the human population directly from pigs has not been established.

“There is no evidence of a threat to the food chain; at this stage it is a human crisis and not an animal crisis, but we have to be alerted and prepared,” said FAO chief veterinary officer Joseph Domenech.

“The first actions FAO and others must take are to ascertain if the new strain is circulating in pigs, establish if there are any direct linkages between the illness in the human population and animals and explain how this new virus has obtained genetic materials from human, bird and pig influenza strains,” he said.

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