African Swine Fever Threat Level Raised

ANALYSIS - African Swine Fever (ASF) has been breaking out in several regions of the Russian Federation in recent months. Indeed, the head of the Russian Veterinary Service, Rosselkhoznador, Sergey Dankvert, said at the World Pork Conference earlier this year that the disease, which is in the Northern Caucasus region, is in danger of spreading, writes ThePigSite Senior Editor, Jackie Linden.
calendar icon 5 December 2011
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During the last week, the Ministry of Agriculture of Armenia has announced that there are suspected cases of ASF in the village of Lorut in the northern province of Lori.

An update on ASF – its occurrence, transmission, cause and control – has been published on ThePigSite this week.

Researchers in the US have reported that antibiotics in feed encourage gene exchange between gut bacteria, which may lead to the development of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

A study published this week in the online journal, mBio® shows that adding antibiotics to pig feed causes microorganisms in the guts of these animals to start sharing genes that could spread antibiotic resistance.

The study by Heather Allen and her colleagues at the USDA National Animal Disease Center (NaDC) in Ames, Iowa, adds to our knowledge about what happens to the microorganisms that populate animal digestive tracts when they are exposed to low but long-term levels of antibiotics. The researchers studied how two in-feed antibiotic formulations affect prophages, segments of DNA found in bacteria that can encode antibiotic resistance genes and other genes that bacteria may use.

Prophages can cut themselves out of the larger chromosome of bacterial DNA in a process called induction, then replicate and package themselves as viruses. These viruses explode the cell from the inside then move on to infect other organisms and deliver their genes.

Dr Allen, who is lead author on the study, says when pigs were fed antibiotics, the numbers of antibiotic resistance genes carried by the phages remained steady but the microorganisms still reacted to the presence of antibiotics. Prophages underwent a significant increase in induction when exposed to antibiotics, indicating that medicating the animals led to increased movement of prophage genes among gut bacteria.

And finally, ThePigSite last week covered a new report on the level of preparedness in the various Member States for the partial sow stall ban in the EU from January 2013.

That report indicates that even Denmark may have problems complying with the EU ban. We are most grateful to John Howard, Market Director (UK) at the Danish Agriculture & Food Council for contacting us and providing an update on the situation in Denmark.

He says that the Danish industry will be ready, adding that the latest research – undertaken 15 months ago in June 2010 – indicated that 70 per cent of Danish producers then complied with the new EU rules, and the remainder either had plans in place to adapt their production to the new rules or would cease producing prior to their implementation.

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