Pigs in different parts of the world are apparently being killed in vain as it’s alleged that swine flu is not spread from pigs to humans as the stories circling the world have implied.
Bonaventure Mtei, the World Health Organisation’s Animal Health Sub Regional representative in Southern Africa, has recently disputed the facts known to date on the infectious virus that has the world health ministries faced with the challenge of coming up with a viable and strong ammunition to fight the pandemic.
Last week the Sunday Standard carried a story in which the Permanent Secretary of Health, Dr Kolaatamo Malefho’s address to the media and the general public, informed people that the swine flu pandemic is “passed from live pigs to humans and from humans to humans through respiratory droplets”.
In a bid to update the country on the recent findings of their extensive research, Mtei says they would like to repudiate some of the facts that have been exposed to the public concerning the novel type, A H1N1, as the organization prefers to call it.
“This influenza virus is being transmitted amongst humans only; there is actually neither evidence of the disease in pigs nor of humans acquiring infection directly from pigs. It is also important to note that swine influenza, where it occurred in the past, has never been shown to be transmittable to people through eating pork or other products derived from pigs,” said Mtei.
The worldwide scare that infected pigs can transmit the virus to people has already seen some countries going to the extremes in terms of handling pigs they suspect might bring infection to humans.
One country in Africa has already started leading the pack in efforts to make sure the pandemic doesn’t reach their country.
Egypt has, of late, issued a directive to have all pigs within the country slaughtered.
Russia has allegedly imposed a blanket trade ban on pork and beef originating from the affected states in the USA.
Therefore the term swine flu is allegedly misleading and should therefore be scrapped from the media and public dictionary.
In a letter addressed to the Sunday Standard, Mtei has recently confirmed the verdict by the World Health Organization to no longer refer to the pandemic as ‘swine flu’ but as North American influenza.
This development comes after the organization argued that the reference to this particular pandemic as swine flu is treated differently from cases that once occurred in places such as Asia and Spain in the past.
The organization is also hopeful that the media will stop referring to the disease as swine flu so as not to pressure governments and health authorities into erroneous decisions, such as those taken by Egypt and Russia.
“Given the absence of a clear link between swine H1N1 and the current H1N1 human influenza A at this stage, such sanitary measures and trade barriers must be regarded as unscientific and must be discouraged,” said Mtei.