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Pennsylvania Pork Products Safe During H1N1 Flu Outbreak, Says Ag Secretary
Date:4/30/2009

HARRISBURG, Pa., April 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff today assured Pennsylvanians that the 2009 H1N1 influenza strain currently affecting humans has not been found in swine populations anywhere in either the U.S. or Mexico, and that pork products are safe.

"Because the virus was referred to early on as the 'swine flu,' many misconceptions relating to pigs have surfaced," said Wolff. "Pork products are safe to consume and living near or working on a hog farm is not a threat to human health. Pennsylvania farmers work diligently throughout the year to protect their animals from diseases, and our world-class laboratory system continuously monitors animal disease across the commonwealth."

As with all meat products, pork should be fully cooked and preparers should wash their hands after handling raw and undercooked meats to avoid many common foodborne illnesses, including salmonella and E. coli. Influenza viruses cannot survive cooking.

Wolff reminded Pennsylvanians of health officials' recommendations to help prevent illness or spreading illness to others:

  • Stay home when you are sick to avoid spreading illness to others;
  • Cough or sneeze into the bend of your elbow or a tissue and properly dispose of used tissues;
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth;
  • Stay healthy by eating a balanced diet, drinking plenty of water and getting plenty of rest and exercise; and
  • Seek care if you have influenza-like illness.

For the most recent Pennsylvania-specific influenza information, including links to CDC recommendations, visit www.health.state.pa.us.

    CONTACT:  Chris Ryder
    717-787-5085


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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture
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