Animal health leaders examine swine flu changes

Diagnosing swine flu from clinical signs has become more difficult in recent years due to the course of the disease having changed, leading European animal health specialists were told at a recent meeting in Germany.

Run by the biotech company, IDT Biologika, the meeting drew delegates from the UK, Denmark, France, Spain, Poland, The Netherlands and Germany, to address the changing nature of the disease, with IDT’s Dr Silke Wacheck leading the debate by warning that laboratory tests are now “crucial” for the precise identification of the relevant viruses.

“Pigs play an important role in the epidemiology of influenza A viruses since they can act as a ‘mixing vessel’,” said Dr Wacheck, adding that influenza viruses are prone to genetic variability and that pigs are susceptible to pig, human and avian viruses.

Polish delegate, Prof Markowska-Daniel, put the debate in its commercial farming context, meanwhile, by commenting that infected sows may show a reduction in reproductive performance.

That, he added, could result in a “high economic impact” for farmers.

Headline image shows delegates attending IDT’s international meeting on swine influenza at Woerlitz, Germany.

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