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Swine Flu Victim’s Husband Cites Smithfield Farms Mexico Pig Farm As Culprit in Wife’s Death

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The husband of a Texas woman who died of the swine flu wants to know if a commercial pig farming operation partly owned by Smithfield Foods Inc. in Mexico is responsible for the creation of the virus that killed his wife. Steven Trunnell, the husband of 33-year-old Judy Dominguez Trunnell, is asking a court in Cameron County, Texas  to authorize depositions of company officials, employees and agents to investigate wrongful death claims against Smithfield Foods Inc.

The swine flu has sickened hundreds of people around the world, raising concerns of a pandemic.  In the U.S., the virus claimed a sixth life on Sunday, that of a New York City school principal.  There have been three other deaths in Texas, one in Washington state and one in Arizona.

In most people, the swine flu has so far been mild, with victims reporting flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, aches and fatigue.  However, people with underlying medical conditions – including pregnant women, diabetics, those with compromised immune systems, the elderly and children – appear to face more danger from the swine flu.

Judy Trunnell died of swine flu complications on May 5.  The 33-year-old woman was the first U.S. citizen to die from the disease.  The young school teacher was 8 months pregnant when she became ill, but doctors were able to deliver her daughter by Cesarean-section before she passed.

The commercial pig farm named in her husband’s petition is located in La Gloria, the Mexican city where swine flu is thought to have originated. The filing states that unsanitary conditions at the pig farm may have caused the development and spread of the flu virus.  The petition asserts  “that there may be evidence which links the creation of the newest strain of the deadly swine flu…with Smithfield Foods’ humongous pig farm operation in Mexico, which under the joint control of Smithfield Foods, has been allowed to lapse into a breeding ground of immense unsanitary proportions for a deadly virus.”

Smithfield insists that its pig farming operation in La Gloria played no role in the swine flu outbreak.  And over the weekend, UPI reported that health officials investigating the flu have not found a link between the virus and the Smithfield Foods’ farm.  But residents in La Gloria have long blamed that operation for a variety of other problems and illnesses, UPI said.

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