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Swine Flu: An Increasing Problem?

03 October 2013

UK - Most swine vets agree that Swine Influenza is an increasing problem, according to a survey recently conducted by Merial Animal Health.

Only eight per cent of those interviewed said that in their experience the number of cases of swine influenza had stayed the same over the last five years, while 92 per cent agreed that it had increased.

Views varied on the exact reasons for this apparent increase. These included better diagnostics, and increased reporting by producers. However, a number pointed at specific recent outbreaks which have driven the increase.

Most of those questioned – 60 per cent – agreed that vaccination against swine influenza makes good economic sense. This was borne out by the number agreeing or agreeing strongly that the UK industry should take swine influenza more seriously, which amounted to 77 per cent of the sample.

Nick Munce, Merial’s Pig Business & Technical Manager said: “This survey demonstrates that the majority of vets recognise the economic benefits of vaccination against swine influenza.”

Some 77 per cent of those interviewed agreed that swine influenza is a production disease that can affect reproduction, average daily weight gain and feed conversion ratios (FCR). In terms of controlling the disease biosecurity and a variety of vaccination strategies featured on most vets’ lists.

Vets were asked to estimate the current prevalence of swine influenza in the English national herd and the average figure was around 44 per cent. Research published in 2010 showed that 59 per cent of the 146 farms surveyed had at least one pig positive for the H1N1, H1N2 or H3N2 influenza viruses1.

Gripovac 3 is currently the only swine influenza vaccine licensed for the UK. It provides protection against the most common influenza strains - H3N2, H1N1 and H1N2.

1 Towards risk-based surveillance for swine influenza virus. Barbara Wieland*, Alexander Mastin*, Dirk U. Pfeiffer*, The COSI Consortium** *Royal Veterinary College, Hatfield, **Combating Swine Influenza Initiative Consortium, Cambridge, UK. 21st International Pig Veterinary Society congress, Vancouver, Canada, 2010.

Further Reading

Find out more information on swine influenza by clicking here.


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