Avian influenza: H5N1 detected in pigs in China
20 August 2004
A researcher from China’s Harbin Veterinary Research Institute has today presented initial evidence that pigs from farms in parts of China have been
infected with the H5N1 strain of avian influenza. The findings, set out in a table and without further supporting data, were presented today at an
international symposium on SARS and avian influenza held in Beijing.
WHO has requested confirmation and further details about this study.
Pigs are known to be susceptible to infection with avian influenza viruses. However, natural infection of pigs with the H5N1 strain has not been
In order to assess the implications for human health, it is important to know whether the reported infections in pigs are rare events, possibly caused
by contact between pigs and wild birds. Wild aquatic birds, which are the natural reservoir of all influenza viruses, can carry the H5N1 strain
without developing symptoms, and are known to excrete large quantities of the virus in their faeces.