Virus has bird, pig, human components: Farm trade watchdog

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Apr 27 2009 07:28 PM | Updated as of Apr 28 2009 03:28 AM

PARIS - The world's paramount agency for health in farm animals on Monday said the deadly flu virus that has erupted in Mexico had origins among birds and humans as well as pigs, and said "swine flu" was a dangerous misnomer.

"It is not a classic human virus... but a virus which includes [in] its characteristics swine, avian and human virus components," the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said.

"The virus has not been isolated in animals to date. Therefore, it is not justified to name this disease swine influenza.

"In the past, many human influenza epidemics with animal origin have been named after their geographic origin, e.g. Spanish influenza or Asiatic influenza, thus it would be logical to call this disease 'North-American influenza'."

The Paris-based OIE said it was essential for scientists to find out whether the virus caused disease in animals.

This would determine whether countries are justified in banning pig imports.

"Currently, only findings related to the circulation of this virus in pigs in zones of countries having human cases would justify trade measures on the importation of pigs from these countries," it said.