(Bloomberg) — Coughing hogs at a 5,000-head piggery in Northern Island are being investigated to determine how they became the latest animal victims of swine flu.
The pandemic H1N1 influenza strain infected about 4,500 hogs at the piggery in Greenhill, U.K. veterinary officials said in a report to the World Organization for Animal Health yesterday. Five pigs died in the outbreak, first noticed Sept. 1, when some of the animals began coughing and lost their appetite.
Chief Veterinary Officer Nigel Gibbens said no known cases of human flu have been linked with the outbreak, which resembles infections in pigs in Canada, Australia and Argentina that have usually caused a mild illness from which swine recover in days. Preventing H1N1 in pigs is important, as they can act as a mixing vessel for flu viruses because they are susceptible to both mammalian and avian influenza strains.