Swine flu threat Locum vets need to be vigilant!
Locum vets are urged to be extra cautious when dealing with pig herds
The swine flu (H1N1) virus first emerged in Mexico in April and has since spread to 74 countries.

Official reports say there have been nearly 30,000 cases globally and 141 deaths, with figures rising daily. It is the first flu pandemic in 40 years - the last in 1968 - the Hong Kong flu - killed about one million people. There have been more than 800 cases in the UK with some areas of Scotland being particularly hard hit.

Austrlasia is currently aslo reporting a significant rine in new swine flu case. New Zealand is reporting 71 new cases, Australia well above 1000.

Meanwhile, Mexico City has lifted all restrictions imposed last month, following an outbreak of swine flu across Mexico.Mexico`s flu death toll rose by three to 78 on Thursday, officials said. Some 4,000 people have been infected.

How are Pigs affected by the Swine flu?
Pigs, so far, have been safe from what is already being called a Phase 6 pandemic.

The most important role veterinarians and pork producers now will fill is making certain the new flu strain - a combination of two kinds of swine flu, avian flu and the human flu virus - doesn`t enter swine herds.
Veterinary Associations around the world are urging veterinarians and producers to step up surveillance and precautions. Producers especially are asked to enhance biosecurity plans, limiting the contact herds have with sick human workers and visitors, especially those who have recently travelled.
Veterinarians also are being urged to protect themselves during necropsies and treatments by using goggles, gloves, frequently washing hands and other procedures typical around a zoonotic disease outbreak.
Locum Vets, who may be are unfamiliar with a herd management should exercise extra caution when entering a pig farm. Any suspicious cases should be reported to DEFRA . So far DEFRA has not issued any particular advise to veterinarians in the UK.

However, further advice can be found on their web site: Veterinary surveillance: Swine Influenza and through the World Health Organization .

Alpha Impact is advising their locums as follows:

1.) Check for updates on this situation in a daily basis
2.) Discuss with your employer a surveillance and contingency plan in the case that you are observing anything suspicious
3.) Discuss your travel plans with us and your employer well in advance. The security levels on the airports are heightened and budget for flight cancellations and prolonged travel times
4.) The labour market for locums in the UK is getting tougher. The recession starts to bite. Please contact ALPHA IMPACT to discuss your work prospects for this summer well in advance


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