Disease Eradication Initiative in Pigs

Summary by Jennifer Kate Waters of her thesis for a degree of Master of Research Science at the University of Leeds Institute of Integrative and Comparative Biology at the Faculty of Biological Sciences, completed in September 2010.
calendar icon 1 July 2012
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The Yorkshire and Humberside Pig Health Scheme (YHH) was an initiative created to increase the health and welfare of pigs in the region. Disease remains the most detrimental factor to the health and welfare of pigs and as such the YHH focused on four chronic diseases, namely, Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome, Enzootic Pneumonia, Swine Dysentery and Mange with a view to eradication.

The YHH believed the best way to achieve their aims was to provide a framework thereby enabling all industry stakeholders to participate and collaborate with each other. From this, reasons as to both why and how the disease could be spread could be identified and subsequent solutions could be proffered to effectively combat disease and spread.

The scheme was split into two stages; Stage One lasted approximately one year and planned the implementation protocols and provided the foundations for Stage Two. Stage Two will continue on from this indefinitely, applying appropriate measures until the four diseases have been eradicated from the region.

This work focuses on assessing the effectiveness and success of Stage One of the YHH and two pilot studies. Stage One of the YHH generated producer involvement, the creation of three clusters of farms and support from numerous industry stakeholders. It can be argued that Stage One as successful on the grounds that the YHH received further funding to progress on to Stage Two. However, there were areas in which Stage One could have been more efficient and a blueprint suggesting key components for a successful Stage One are provided in this work. Any future eradication schemes would benefit from utilising the recommendations provided in this blueprint. This work also provides recommendations for alterations that are hoped to benefit Stage Two.

Two pilot schemes ran parallel to the YHH and provided the scheme with essential information, these are assessed. First, the Veterinary Pilot Study; this assessed the veterinarians’ capability at determining disease presence within a herd, through comparison with diagnostic sampling. It was concluded that the veterinarians that participated were fully capable at diagnosing disease presence in a herd. The Veterinary Pilot Study also generated information regarding the location of many herds in the region.

Second, an alternative sampling technique was trialled using colostrum as an alternative to blood serum for antibody testing. It was concluded that further investigation into the creation of more accurate diagnostic tests was required before colostrum could become an alternative to blood serum sampling.

Further Reading

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Further Reading

Find out more information on the diseases mentioned in this article by clicking here.

July 2012
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