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N.C. pigs test positive for H1N1

Posted December 23, 2009
Updated December 24, 2009

— Pigs from two North Carolina farms have tested positive for the H1N1 virus, agriculture officials said Wednesday.

The animals have been under the care of a private veterinarian and have recovered from the illness, which is also known as swine flu, officials said.

pig Pigs caught H1N1 from N.C. handlers

“Pigs are subject to flu viruses just like humans, so it’s not unexpected to find it in a herd,” State Veterinarian David Marshall said in a statement. “These cases show that our surveillance system is working.”

Officials declined to say how many pigs were infected or where the farms were located, other than to note the farms aren't in high-production areas.

Dr. Tom Ray, director of livestock health at the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, said it appears the pigs at both farms caught the virus from humans. The herd owners indicated that workers who had contact with the animals had exhibited flu-like symptoms in the days preceding the animals’ illness, Ray said.

People cannot contract H1N1 from handling or consuming pork or pork products, according to the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Officials also said there are no documented cases of humans contracting the virus from pigs.

"We want to reassure the public that it is safe to eat pork from swine that have been infected previously and recovered from influenza viruses, including novel viruses,” State Health Director Jeff Engel said in a statement.

Minnesota, Indiana and Illinois also have had pigs infected with H1N1. Other states have reported the illness in other animals, and officials said it appears in all cases that the animals contracted the virus from humans.

Farmers across North Carolina have been vaccinating pigs for the past three weeks to immunize them against H1N1 and prevent an outbreak of the virus, Marshall said.


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  • quacko Dec 24, 2009

    this novel H1N1 virus did not originate in pigs. it was first found in humans. it did not appear in pigs until a month after the first case, in hog farms in alberta. this virus has genes from at least 4 different viruses. saying that it came from pigs and was transmitted to humans is absolutely incorrect. every case of infected pigs has been shown to come from contact with sick farm employees, or sick humans, as was the case with the minnesota state fair

  • Viewer Dec 24, 2009

    I don't think WRAL would consciously violate the provisions of the Porcine Privacy Act.

  • anonemoose Dec 24, 2009

    Viewer, I meant names of the hogs, not the farms.

  • NCHighlander Dec 24, 2009

    I'll bet pigs don't call it the swine flu.

  • Viewer Dec 24, 2009

    "NAMES, WE NEED NAMES!!!!! Name the carriers of of this illness. Some out here may need to go to the health dept and get checked."

    No time for panic.

    All of you who work on a hog farm go to your doctor. Just like those who work with sheep get the anthrax shot.

    Now, wasn't that easy?

  • Ajay F.S. Dec 23, 2009

    Reader, my comment was because the article states there are no documented cases of humans contracting it from pigs, yet it also states that the pigs caught it from the humans, so obviously it can be spread back and forth. All along it has been said that it originated from pigs (hence swine flu name), so there must be a documented case somewhere.

  • anonemoose Dec 23, 2009

    NAMES, WE NEED NAMES!!!!! Name the carriers of of this illness. Some out here may need to go to the health dept and get checked.

  • Reader Dec 23, 2009

    Ajay, It is called the swine flu (now politically-correctly called H1N1) because it first came from swine! Yes, it passes back and forth and makes both species sick. We originally got it from them, and now we are giving it back. No surprise.

  • Frank Downtown Dec 23, 2009

    Just another reason why you should not eat pork!

  • cpm313 Dec 23, 2009

    Why are you calling H1N1 "swine flu"? You and all the other news agencies are destroying the pork industry with your irresponsible coverage. The swine probly got it from humans. Please call this desease by its officail name. H1N1