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Protect the piggies – from swine flu!

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009 by Dara Kam

pigFlorida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles Bronson last week asked folks to stop giving pork a bad rap by calling the H1N1 virus “swine flu” because of the devastating impact it’s having on the pork industry.

But the threat of spreading the virus between pigs and people is a real threat, according to yesterday’s New York Times.

Not in the way most might think, however.

Vets fear that humans will spread the virus to the animals and are instituting precautions at state fairs and other places where the porcine creatures come into contact with those higher up on the food chain.

“When the Oregon State Fair opens next week, the pigs will be kept behind an elaborate configuration of plastic and ribbon barriers, taller-than-usual fences and off-limits walkways. The state veterinarian is also urging visitors to stay six feet away.

The worry? The spread of swine flu, but with a twist: state officials hope to insulate the pigs from sick people.

‘Help us protect the piggies,’ signs at the fair will read in pink,” the story begins.

“The whole idea of the animals getting sick from people is a foreign concept to people, but that’s what we’re looking at here,” said Iowa state veterinarian David E. Marshall said in the story.

Pork getting bad rap because of swine flu

Thursday, August 20th, 2009 by Dara Kam

pigPork producers are being devastated by the H1N1 pandemic, commonly known as “swine flu,” which is responsible for the deaths of 59 deaths in Florida, including five in Palm Beach County.

Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles Bronson wants officials to quit using the term “swine flu” to get the public to separate the virus, unrelated to the consumption of meat, from things like pork chops.

“It is unfortunate that pork producers and processors have been impacted so negatively by the inaccurate characterization of this virus,” Bronson said in a press release issued today. “But the fact is there have been no detections of swine flu in any swine herds in this country, and people cannot get this flu from eating pork.”

The virus is continuing to spread and health officials fear it a resurgence of it as schools re-open after the summer break. Gov. Charlie Crist traveled around the state this week to warn school officials to heed safety precautions, including frequent hand washing.

A 12-year-old Palm Beach County girl died yesterday from complications from the virus.

Rooney to Chinese: Free the Swine Flu Six

Friday, June 12th, 2009 by George Bennett

U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Tequesta, has weighed in on the quarantining of six Palm Beach County residents in China because of swine flu concerns.

West Palm Beach accountant John Yeend was diagnosed with swine flu while traveling in China. His two traveling companions were also quarantined. Three seemingly healthy North Palm Beach teens are also being quarantined because someone on their flight into China tested positive for the disease.

Rooney’s statement: “I, along with my colleagues from Florida, have been in contact with the State Department and the U.S. Embassy in Beijing to work to get these travelers back home as soon as possible.

“I urge anyone planning on traveling to China this summer to use caution and be aware of the strict quarantine procedures the Chinese government has instituted. Upon arrival in China travelers will be forced to go through thermal-scanning checkpoints. If a traveler on an arriving flight is suspected of having contracted H1N1, all passengers and crew on the flight are subject to possible quarantine in local hospitals or hotels. All travelers should heed State Department advisories and contact the American Embassy or Consulate if there are any problems.”

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