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Danish Pig Industry Steps up Border Disease Measures

27 October 2014, at 8:25am

DENMARK - With African swine fever just 10 hours driving time away, the Danish pig industry is to intensify disease protection measures at its land border with Germany by building a state-of-the-art vehicle wash at Padborg.

According to the Danish agriculture organisation, Landbrug & Fødevarer (Agriculture & Food; L&F), 22,000 trucks cross the Danish border every year with piglets and pigs that are sold abroad.

These vehicles carry a risk of transmitting infectious diseases to Danish pig herds and so the Danish Pig Research Centre (PRC) has decided to invest in a new car wash at the border, with the support of L&F.

PRC President, Erik Larsen, said: "There are a number of diseases such as African swine fever and PED lurking just outside Denmark, and we must do everything to stop before reaching Denmark.

"Previously, there was a legal requirement for the washing of animal transport at the border, but as it fell away, we took the responsibility on ourselves by establishing the Danish Transport Standard with an extra safety wash when vehicles enter the country."

African swine fever is found regularly in several of the countries bordering Russia. The disease has now spread into the entire Baltic region and is now found in eastern Poland. The fear is that it will spread further across Europe.

The United States has tremendous problems with a very aggressive type of gastrointestinal disease, porcine epidemic diarrhoea (PED), which particularly affects piglets and causes mortality through diarrhoea and dehydration. Between 50 and 100 per cent of baby pigs die of the disease.

L&F says that the virus is also found in Germany, Italy and Asia. There is a high risk that this aggressive PED type at a time can gain a foothold in Europe, and that is partly why VSP now increases hygiene requirements at the border.

Mr Larsen said that swine fever is now less than 10 hours away from Denmark, and that bacteria and viruses can be transmitted via the trucks moving in high risk areas such as Poland, where many Danish piglets are sold at the moment.

"The precautions to avoid infection in Denmark need to be strengthened, and that is what we are doing now," he added..

Currently, trucks are subject to 48 hours quarantine after it has been washed at the border. But with the new and improved disinfection method, the quarantine time is reduced to 12 hours.

"Proper washing and disinfection is more important than time. Our studies show that washing can be done much better and more professionally than what we see today," said Mr Larsen.

The new car wash is being built in Padborg and PRD expects it to be in use from next year. The disinfection costs will be paid by the transport companies but PRC says the shorter quarantine period will help to allay the extra cost.