Swine Flu found in Northern Ireland pig herd

A pig herd in Northern Ireland has become the first European herd to test positive for the swine flu.

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) said a batch of piglets in Ulster had tested positive for the H1N1 virus.

A DARD spokesman said the finding was not unexpected given that the disease was circulating in humans.

DARD was providing advice to the affected farm and would continue to monitor developments and provide advice to the industry as required, he added.

An Ulster Farmers’ Union spokesman said it was “almost certain” the animals contracted the disease from human contact.

It was the first time swine flu had been discovered in a pig herd in Europe, he added.

The UFU stressed that the virus did not pose a food safety risk and said pigs with the virus should be isolated from the rest of the herd until they recovered.

The disease had previously been detected in herds in Canada and Argentina.