[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/HEALTH/04/24/swine.flu/art.pigs.gi.jpg]Melissa Westphal
Hog farmers are stressing that pork is safe to eat and that their pigs are not to blame for what they call the “unfortunately named” swine flu that’s dominating headlines.
Hog prices dipped today while national health officials worked overtime to disseminate information on the new flu strain. Forty cases have been confirmed in the U.S. as of Monday, and people have died in Mexico from the disease.
Cases of swine flu are documented each year in the U.S., but this strain is different. While officials are still unsure how this strain started, all of the U.S. cases have been spread between humans, not from pigs to humans or humans to pigs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the illness can not be caught by eating pork products.
The World Organization for Animal Health on Monday said there is no justification for naming the disease "swine flu" and suggested calling the disease “North-American influenza,” based on similarly named outbreaks like the Spanish flu and the Asian flu.
Brian Duncan, a hog farmer in Polo, Ill., was on the phone early this morning to the Ogle County Farm Bureau discussing what local farmers can do to help the situation.
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