Sep 27, 2012- 12:50 PM
An influenza virus that normally circulates in animals is referred to as a variant virus when it infects humans.
The victim became ill after close contact with pigs, and is being treated and closely monitored in a hospital in southwestern Ontario.
The identification of this case is the result of the strength of the current surveillance system here in Ontario, King said.
It is not an unexpected occurrence and there have been a number of human infections with variant influenza viruses in the United States over the past year.
Although H1N1 was responsible for a flu pandemic in 2009, King reassured citizens that the variant form of the virus rarely spreads from animals to humans.
“Subsequent human-to-human transmission is also rare,” she said.
This is also not a food safety issue, King said.
“The consumption of properly cooked pork continues to be safe,” she said. “Proper cooking of meats, including pork, kills all bacteria and viruses.”
To avoid getting the flu, she advises people to wash their hands properly and get their annual flu shot.