PMWS Believed Killing Piglets in New Zealand: Professor

NEW ZEALAND - An animal health expert investigating a mystery disease outbreak among pigs in southern New Zealand said Wednesday the disease is "almost certainly" a viral infection that can kill piglets.

The suspected outbreak of post-weaning multi-systemic wasting syndrome (PMWS), a highly contagious viral disease that affects pigs up to 12 weeks of age, has so far killed about 1,000 piglets on eight farms near the South Island city Christchurch.

Prof. Roger Morris said the disease, which has struck the heart of New Zealand's pig industry "is almost certainly PMWS." Further work was being done to "confirm the detail," he said.

Speaking after inspecting farms and some animals, he told National Radio "one bit of good news is that the disease is milder here" than in the country's first outbreak, which hit North Island farms in 2003.

"It looks worse to begin with but the pigs recover, whereas relatively few of the pigs affected in the North Island recovered," he said. More than 10,000 pigs could be at risk in the area, he said.

Morris, a specialist in animal epidemiology at New Zealand's Massey University, said all farmers in the area should take stringent biosecurity measures to protect their farms.

For further information, please visit our PMWS Technical Zone

calendar icon 8 March 2006
clock icon 2 minute read
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