No evidence that animals play part in flu spread, says body

June 12, 2009

There is no evidence of animals playing any role in the spread of A/H1N1 flu, a leading animal health body announced as the world flu pandemic level was raised to its highest level.

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said it maintained its recommendations to animal health authorities worldwide.

The body's announcement came the same day of the World Health Organisation (WHO) declaration that the novel influenza A/H1N1 had reached phase 6 of an influenza global pandemic.

"While the WHO has officially declared an influenza global pandemic phase 6, the role of animals has not been demonstrated in the epidemiology or spread of novel A/H1N1," OIE director general, Dr Bernard Vallat, said.

He continued: "A/H1N1 is indeed a public health issue for all worldwide but so far the role of animals has not been demonstrated in its epidemiology or spread.

"Thus, recommendations we made since the start of this crisis remain valid."

Vallat said public and animal health experts worldwide will continue their joint effort on scientific research aimed at better understanding the virus and providing sound, science-based, recommendations for prevention and control.

The OIE recommendations are:

The new influenza A virus, also popularly referred to as swine flu, has been shown to have elements of swine, human and bird-flu virus in its makeup.