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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Swine Flu - your Mom was right, wash your hands...

Swine flu has become a national concern. But there may be some confusion about how humans can become infected.

First and foremost, swine influenza viruses are not transmitted by food. You cannot get swine flu from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork products is safe. Any swine flu virus, bacteria or other viruses are killed by cooking the pork to an internal temperature of 160 degrees.

It is most often the people that work or are in close proximity to infected pigs, in pig barns and livestock exhibits housing pigs at fairs that catch swine flu. Human-to-human transmission of swine flu occurs the same way human flu is transmitted by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose. You should avoid drinking after others and limit physical contact. However, your best protection against contracting the swine flu virus is washing your hands often.

Local farmers have another reason to be concerned: labor. Contracted Mexican workers, more than 2,500 individuals, are vital to South Carolina farms. While some workers may have entered the country before the outbreak, many were expected within the next couple of weeks. The estimated 7 - 10 day delays in visa paperwork and travel may cause the workers to arrive late. A possible nightmare situation for some farmers.