Pig Flu Pandemic - the next farming related crisis?

What does the new strain of pig flu mean for the world farming community.

Will pig flue blow itself out or is this new strain of flu virus going to be the one which results in a pandemic?

I’m not one for scaremongering usually but I am worried about the speed this is travelling and what it will do to the world agriculture industry.

The World Health Organisation has increased the phase of pandemic alert to level 4, just one level below pandemic.

Phase 4 is sustained human to human transmission and it is now verified that pig flu can trasmit from human to human.

It certainly isn’t time to panic yet but it is spreading quickly and we need to watch it closely, hopefully it will just die out.

Bloggers have already started posting on the internet about a relation between pig flu and the treatment of farm animals and links between pig flue and confined feeding operations.

Although you can’t get swine flu from eating pork there is no doubt consumers will be scared by this latest crisis eminating from the farming industry.

“Pig flu” or “swine influenza” has killed 149 people in Mexico and infected 1614 others. There are also people infected in the USA, Canada and New Zealand, with suspected cases now in Spain, Chile, Britain and Israel.

Just 2 days after newspapers like the Sunday Mercury told us Midland farmers dismiss fears deadly Mexico ‘pig flu’ could hit UK, we now see 14 suspected cases in the UK.

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in the US now has 40 laboratory confirmed cases from 5 different states. They believe this strain of pig flu is a mixture of pig, bird and human virus.

To see how rapidly this flu virus is spreading we just have to compare yesterdays news reports of 86 dead in Mexico with the number reported today on the pig flu website, 149 now.

This isn’t the first time we have faced fears about pig flu, as this BBC news article headline from 1999 shows Pig flu sparks epidemic fears but one of these days one of these viruses will get out of control, as we have seen in the past.

The Daily Express reported that Professor Nigel Dimmock of Warwick University said the outbreak could kill 120 million people – two per cent of the world’s population – if it covered the globe.

That would be far worse than the impact of the Spanish flu pandemic that killed 50 million people in 1918 and which was a forerunner of the current flu strain, known as A/H1N1.

“It’s poised on a knife edge,” said Prof Dimmock. “It could burn itself out or it could get very nasty indeed – only time will tell.

“It’s a matter of how it spreads. It’s worrying because it appears to have infected a thousand or so people. But if it is a very good spreader it will travel around the world and we will all be in trouble.”

“So far it has killed two per cent of those infected. In the worst case scenario it could kill two per cent of the world’s population.”

Agricultural organisations around the world have already started putting out messages that you can’t get pig flu from eating pork but I’m going to predict a massive drop in pork sales if pig flu continues to spread.

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9 Responses to “Pig Flu Pandemic - the next farming related crisis?”

  1. olly from Glass Verandas (21 comments.) Says:

    Yes this is potentially scary stuff indeed. Certainly not good for the farming industry.

    I agree that people will be put off eating pork because of this even though the media are being very clear that there is no link.

    I guess we will just have to watch and wait and hope that it does just die off.

  2. (27 comments.) Says:

    Hi Sally, I think you are probably right about the drop in sales.
    It seems that when it spreads though, it is becoming less of a virulent strain which is all we can hope for at the moment.

    Roy Norris’s last blog post..

  3. Sally Says:

    Yes I have my fingers firmly crossed it just wears down naturally Roy but I do believe one of these days we will see another flu pandemic .. oh well may as well stop dieting and enjoy the chocolate while I can lol

  4. Terry from Scrub Tops (2 comments.) Says:

    This is downright scary but there’s no use panicking.

    I love your attitude towards this. Share your chocolates now will you. LOL

    On a related note: While it is clear that you can’t get pig flu by eating pork, it is yet another reason why your government should fix the legislation regarding proper labeling of food with regards to where it is coming from.

  5. Sally Says:

    SHARE my chocolates .. are you quite mad?!! I would share my husband before I shared my chocolates lol

    Absolutely right about the food labellng issue Terry but I doubt the government will learn anything by this, there will lots of discussion but no action.

  6. Terry from Scrub Tops (2 comments.) Says:

    LOL, you do LOVE your chocolates.

    In theory, the swine flu would push government officials to take actions whether in food labeling or putting preventive measures against pandemics. But sadly, that’s just a theory nowadays with “some” government officials more interested in making money or grabbing more power to make more money.

  7. Sam Says:

    This swine flu business is scarey but then the media don’t help!

    Sally would never ever share chocolate lol

  8. Sally Says:

    Agree with you Terry, it’s all about money these days. Of course if it did become a pandemic they would then rush to change the laws .. always trying to shut the gate after the horse has bolted.

  9. Sally Says:

    I am never a fan of the media Sam but I must admit I have been impressed with the WHO press meetings every day, without the media we wouldn’t know the facts and the papers could go beserk scaring us silly.

    Luckily it seems to be dying down .. fingers still crossed.

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