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    Help keep deadly pig disease out of Britain

    NewsTuesday 09 July 2013
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    The National Pig Association has called for producers across British agriculture to help keep a newly emerging disease out of Europe. The disease, called Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea, has been present in the UK in a mild form for over 40 years. However, new strains of the disease are spreading from China to the United States wiping out whole generations of newly-born pigs. 
     
    The NPA has stated that everyone involved in farming needs to pull together and adopt a number of extra-precautionary measures at this current point in time. These extra measures are as follows:
     
    • Only absolutely essential visitors from overseas should be allowed onto pig farms and they must have entered Britain at least three days before the visit.
    • Only unit clothing and footwear should be worn on site.
    • If you are returning from overseas yourself, allow three days before considering yourself “pig-free”.
    • Spread the message, not the disease. Ensure all your staff and colleagues are aware of the risks posed by the new strains of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea virus and that they comply with all biosecurity measures if visiting British pig units.
    As well as these useful pieces of advice, the NPA has also advised all pig-keepers to contact their vet of they see any unusual clinical problems with diarrhoea, particularly in piglets. 
     
    They are also advising any producers to work closely with their nutritionist, feed supplier and vet, in order to check the provenance of nutritional products used on their farm. They should also consider whether any nutrients may pose an unacceptable risk. 
     
    The organisation are also saying that, as a matter of principle, no meat products should ever be allowed onto pig farms. This is due to their potential to introduce serious diseases such as Foot and Mouth Disease, Classical Swine Fever, African Swine Fever, and perhaps the new virulent strains of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea.
     
    All pig-keepers are being asked - including hobby farmers - to run a critical eye over all of their current biosecurity measures to see what can be improved. The NPA is also urging genetics companies to think carefully before they import live pigs from the States for the time being. 
     
    The most recent outbreak in the USA is still spreading and it has caused losses of up to 100% of the affected piglets. It has also been reported on over 200 units in 13 states since May. The virus from the States is said to be 99.4% similar to an outbreak in China which has killed more than a million piglets since October 2010.
     
    Source: NFU
     
    Picture: Watt Publishing
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