Higher incidence of hog circovirus raises concerns in US

US - There have been increased concerns recently about reports of higher incidence of the swine disease postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome, commonly known as PMWS, caused by a circovirus, in the US, with some of the cases reportedly resulting in significant death losses within certain production units.
calendar icon 8 February 2006
clock icon 4 minute read
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The presence of the virus that causes PMWS is not uncommon in US swine herds, according to industry sources and animal health officials. The disease has also been found in the UK, Canada, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Ireland.

PMWS affects mainly weaned pigs from four to 16 weeks of age, according to the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

The syndrome, identified in western Canada in 1991, causes progressive weight loss, jaundice, overall reduced performance, and in severe cases can result in mortality rates of up to 40 percent.

The effects of PMWS can be more severe when accompanied by other diseases such as porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, or PRRS, other agents and unusual environmental conditions, according to a PMWS fact sheet on the National Pork Board's Web site.

University of Missouri Ag economist Glenn Grimes said two large swine producers located in North Carolina have had significant problems with the disease recently. The producers estimated death losses - from birth to market weight - as high as 45 percent at certain locations, Grimes said. The producers estimated the losses to be large enough that marketings of slaughter hogs overall in North Carolina could be down about 3 percent by March.

North Carolina state veterinarian David Marshall said in an email reply to questions about the cases that his department has received reports about the disease and is monitoring the situation. He added that many different entities are putting an extensive amount of effort into researching this issue.

Marshall also said that rumours have been circulating in North Carolina for a couple months concerning a 'new' viral disease, but they have seen no evidence from the samples submitted.

Although the presence of PMWS is not uncommon in the US, there have been expanded concerns from increased morbidity and mortality apparently associated with clinical PMWS in certain hog dense areas of Canada since late 2004, according to the National Pork Board (NPB). NPB is calling for research proposals to prevent PMWS. The organisation budgeted US$220,000 in late 2005 for research on the disease. Pam Zaabel, director of swine health, research and information with the NPB, conducted a conference call Tuesday with several animal disease diagnostic laboratories from across the country to discuss PMWS.

Overall, there are no indications of an alarming number of cases or substantial increase in death losses, Zaabel said. There have been anecdotal reports of two other cases of PMWS with high death losses, one in Missouri and the other in Utah, but these have not been confirmed.

No vaccines are available yet against PMWS. To combat and control the disease, swine producers utilise high bio-security measures and sanitation practices.

Source: eFeedLink - 8th January 2006

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