Weekly Overview: European Pig Vets Discuss Swine Flu

ANALYSIS - Taking a health theme this week, we take a look back at some of the highlights of the highly successful meeting of pig veterinarians in Edinburgh last week, as well as the impacts of the 'new' piglet enteric virus on the industry in the US and Canada.
calendar icon 28 May 2013
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Two keynote addresses on swine flu were among the highlights of the European Symposium on Porcine Health Management (ESPHM) held in Edinburgh, Scotland, last week.

Dr Kristien Van Reeth of the University of Ghent in Belgium addressed the topic ‘Influenza pandemics: Does the Greater Threat Come from Pigs, not Birds?’

She stated that it is impossible to make predictions about which animal influenza viruses may cause future pandemics although we can improve our insights into the mechanism of the species barriers relating to flu virus transmission.

Veterinary scientists can bring a unique perspective to research, she said, adding the successful surveillance relies on the co-operation of pig veterinarians and producers.

Practical on-farm solutions to tackle swine influenza were described by Dr Giampetro Sandri of Gruppo Veronese in Italy. He presented the results of a 10-year monitoring programme in large pig units in the region of Verona. Most outbreaks were seasonal with a peak incidence in autumn and winter, and most cases were acute and epizootic. Three serotypes have been involved: H1N1, H3N2 and H1N2.

Dr Sandri considers high biosecurity and regular vaccination very important to control the disease.

“I would not want to risk not vaccinating,” he said.

News of porcine epidemic diarrhoea virus (PEDV) in the US has shaken the market there, despite pork being still safe to eat and no threat being posed to people, according to market analysts, Steve Meyer and Len Steiner.

The impact of PEDV is also being felt over the border in Canada, where pork producers are being advised to step up their focus on biosecurity in the wake of reports of possible outbreaks in the US.

Also from Canada, a new survey of swine veterinarians shows the number of farms across the prairies affected by swine dysentery caused by Brachyspira appears to be gradually increasing.

Reports have been received by the OIE of PRRS in Belarus and FMD in Taiwan.

And finally, a case study involving beef producers in Idaho has revealed less-than-ideal refrigeration conditions for animal health products at retailers and on-farm.

Credit for top image: Stephen Beaumont.

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