The recently reported outbreak of swine flu originating from Mexico where 81 confirmed deaths in humans have been reported apart from 20 fatalities in other countries including USA and New Zealand. This new flu virus of H1 N1 strain appears to infect humans very quickly and is feared to escalate in a pandemic across the world. The pigs are notorious for acting as a vessel for mutating flu virus strains that can be lethal for humans. In all the countries where pigs are domesticated and raised in close proximity to humans in filthy conditions, a potential risk exists in the propagation of even new flu virus through the agency of pigs. It is of utmost importance that pig-free zones be established in all meat exporting countries, whether they deal in red meat or poultry meat so that the chances of infecting other mammalian species with swine flu virus is eliminated. Fortunately Pakistan is free of domesticated pigs due to strong religious taboos and hence presents an excellent opportunity to promote the export of poultry meat to other countries due to its being safe from contamination with any swine flu viruses. We should capitalize on this chance to promote our poultry exports to the world. -DR MUHAMMAD YAQOOB BHATTI, Lahore, via e-mail, April 27.