This year, a resurgence in the appearance of swine flu throughout Australia has left many with concerns about if it is safe to eat pork.
The H1N1 virus, known commonly as ‘swine flu’ has provided the majority of influenza cases this year according to experts.
The specialist group in Australia dedicated to studying influenza, ISG, have commented that there have been over 21,000 reported cases of influenza this year, a substantial increase from 2013’s report of around 15,400 cases.
Statistics from the World Health Organisation went on to show that a significant majority of these cases were from the H1N1 strain, with more than 18,000 confirmed cases of Swine flu this year. Most experts expect this number to grow further as the year continues.
What is Swine Flu?
Swine flu in humans is a contagious disease which affects the respiratory system. Usually, symptoms will include a sore throat, tiredness, aches and pains, and a temperature of over 38 degrees Celsius.
The H1N1 strain of influenza is named ‘swine flu’ because it is found typically in pigs. However, in 2009, a new breed of the virus was discovered, capable of affecting humans. Since then, cases have been confirmed all over the world, including in Australia.
Although some deaths did occur in Victoria, the majority of swine flu cases have been mild. Individuals are usually capable of recovering without medical treatment. However, unlike typical influenza, swine flu in humans can lead to further complications in people with chronic conditions.
Can it be Caught by Eating Pork?
Up until now, swine flu has shown no evidence that it is capable of being transmitted through the consumption of properly prepared pig products. Experts suggest that the virus cannot be caught through food products, meaning that it is still safe for Australians to eat bacon, pork, and ham.
The World Health Organisations have announced that, even in countries where the outbreak of human swine flu has been most severe, eating pork products that have been handled and cooked properly is still perfectly safe.
Nevertheless, the pork industry have announced that they will do their best to carefully monitor the perception the public holds towards pork products this year, as a response to the significant rise in swine flu cases. Andrew Spencer, the executive of Australian Pork Limited, says that he doesn't believe sales of pork meat will be affected as there is no food safety issue.