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Swine flu to affect Egyptian pig economy

Swine flu to affect Egyptian pig economy article image

Egyptian Health Minister Hatem al-Gabali has announced the cull of all of Egypt's pigs due to the threat of swine flu, despite no trace of the disease in the country's herd. "It has been ordered to immediately begin the slaughter of all herds of pigs in Egypt," declared Gabali, saying Egypt took the threat of swine flu "very seriously", especially given that the country was badly affect by its predecessor, avian flu, the cause of death for 26 people there. There are approximately 250,000 pigs in Egypt, all belonging to Coptic Christians. Pig farmers expressed outrage at the blanket cull despite being offered 600 Egyptian pounds (A$146) for each pig killed. "Our pigs are healthy. They are our capital and they have no diseases," said father of 10 Adel Ishak. "How will they replace the capital if these pigs are killed? How long will the compensation feed us for? A year? Is the government going to pay for our children's education?" The announcement came despite the lack of evidence that pigs spread swine flu, according to the World Health Organisation. "We don't see any evidence that anyone is getting infected from pigs. This appears to be a virus which is moving from person to person," said spokesperson Keiji Fukuda, the organisation's acting assistant director general. Egypt is also stockpiling anti-viral drug, Tamiflu.

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