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Hog Cholera No Threat to Humans

by 5m Editor
3 November 2008, at 9:05am

PHILIPPINES - Hog cholera or swine fever affects only pigs and has no detrimental effects on other animals or humans.

However, the potential damages to the pig industry would be severe.

The disease is endemic in Asia, Central and South America, and parts of Europe and Africa. It was believed to have been eradicated in the United Kingdom by 1966. It was eradicated in the United States of America in 1978.

On August 20, 2007, the Department of Agriculture investigated the outbreak of swine flu in Nueva Ecija and Central Luzon prompting the Philippine National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) to raise a hog cholera "red alert" warning over Metro Manila and five regions of Luzon.

The pesti virus almost ruined the backyard piggeries in Bulacan and Pampanga, top hog producers in Central Luzon.

Agriculture officials said it killed at least 500 pigs of the 5,438 infected heads before it was contained.

Hogs stricken with the virus lose their appetite, show signs of diarrhea, and later, constipation and red spots on the skin. It also causes fever, skin lesions, convulsions, and usually (particularly in young animals) death within 15 days.

The acute form of hog cholera is highly virulent, causing persistent fevers that can raise body temperatures to as high as 107°F.

The chronic form of hog cholera causes similar clinical signs in affected swine, but the signs are less severe than in the acute form.

Discoloration of the abdominal skin and red splotches around the ears and extremities often occur. Pigs with chronic hog cholera can live for more than 100 days after the onset of infection.

The mild or clinically inapparent form of hog cholera seldom results in noticeable clinical signs. Affected pigs suffer short periods of illness often followed by periods of recovery. Eventually, a terminal relapse occurs.

The most common method of transmission is direct contact between healthy swine and those infected with hog cholera.

The disease can also be transmitted through contact with body secretions and excrement from infected animals. Healthy pigs coming into contact with contaminated vehicles, pens, feed, or clothing may contract the disease. Birds, flies, and humans can physically carry the virus from infected to healthy swine.

Swine owners can inadvertently cause infection through feeding their herds untreated food wastes containing infected pork scraps.

Sun Star offers some tips on how swine owners can protect their animals:

  • Check animals at least twice a week for unusual signs or behaviors.
  • Make sure food waste is properly heated to destroy pathogens.
  • Isolate newly purchased hogs for at least 21 days.
  • Isolate sick pigs until the cause of illness is determined.
  • Fence property to prevent wild pigs from coming in contact with domestic herds.
  • Practice standard bio-security measures, such as cleaning and disinfecting clothing, equipment, and vehicles entering and leaving the farm.

Further Reading

- Find out more information on Hog Cholera (HC) by clicking here.

5m Editor