As of Thursday April 30 the new influenza will be referred to as A/H1N1 said the World Health Organization in a brief announcement. The statement follows on World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) clarification of facts from the animal health perspective, particularly in relation to international trade of pigs and of products of pig origin.
Earlier in the day OIE said that information available does not indicate, at this time, that the influenza outbreak currently occurring in the United States and Mexico was preceded by an outbreak of swine influenza.
Within a few days, scientific investigations that are currently under way should indicate if the virus circulating in humans is capable of infecting animal species, such as pigs, chickens and horses.
It is not correct to call the current disease ‘swine influenza'. The virus that is circulating includes genetic components of human, avian and swine origin. The OIE proposed to refer to this new virus as ‘North American influenza', using the same approach to nomenclature as used with the Asian influenza and Spanish influenza outbreaks that have occurred in the past.
Given there is no case of infection in animals confirmed in the zones where cases of human infection have been detected, it is not necessary to introduce specific measures for international trade in swine or their products nor to consider that consumers of pork products are at risk of infection.
The following update, sent to the National Delegates of the OIE 174 Member Countries and Territories, summarises the OIE position regarding the safety of international trade in the context of the current influenza situation.