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Afghanistan’s only pig gets quarantined

by Brad A. Greenberg

May 6, 2009 | 5:11 pm

Hysteria over pig flu, which isn’t even as dangerous as the common influenza, has been running hog wild. The latest victim: the sole swine in all of Afghanistan.

Like many Muslim countries, pigs are prohibited in Afghanistan because they are haram. (I actually saw an article yesterday from Qatar about an imam who claimed “swine flu proves wisdom of Islamic teachings.” Obviously, Jews could make the same claim.) But the Kabul zoo is the owner of one pig, which usually grazes with deer and goats.

That pig has been in quarantine since Sunday because of fear it could spread swine flu. Forget the fact that the pig would need to contract the virus from another pig, of which there are none for hundreds, maybe thousands, of miles or an infected person:

Here’s the story from Reuters:

“For now the pig is under quarantine, we built it a room because of swine influenza,” Aziz Gul Saqib, director of Kabul Zoo, told Reuters. “We’ve done this because people are worried about getting the flu.”

Worldwide, more than 1,000 people have been infected with the virus, according to the World Health Organization, which also says 26 people have so far died from the strain. All but one of the deaths were in Mexico, the epicenter of the outbreak.

There are no pig farms in Afghanistan and no direct civilian flights between Kabul and Mexico.

“We understand that, but most people don’t have enough knowledge. When they see the pig in the cage they get worried and think that they could get ill,” Saqib said.

(Hat tip: Sarah Pulliam)

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