All British pig-keepers must consider themselves personally responsible for ensuring Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea (PED) virus does not get onto their own farms, according to a new warning issued by the National Pig Association (NPA).
Responding to the confirmation of the disease now being present in the Ukraine, NPA said that as little as a “thimbleful of manure from an infected pig unit” would be sufficient to infect the entire British pig population.
“It is impossible to guarantee Asian-American PEDv will not arrive in Britain on a traveller’s shoes or clothes, or on the wheels of a lorry,” said the NPA. “Producers should therefore pay special attention to vehicle biosecurity. In particular no pig lorry should be allowed onto any pig farm unless it has previously been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.”
The new warning follows the release of information by internationally-known British vet Dr John Carr, whose report on the PEDv situation in the Ukraine included details of a well-run commercial 5,000-sow unit in the country where 30,000 piglets died over a matter of weeks.
The worry now is that the disease could easily spread to the European Union, raising the need for British pig producers to apply “impeccable transport biosecurity routines”.
However, positive reports on PEDv control success continue to emerge from the Canadian pig industry, which has demonstrated that it’s possible to control the spread of PEDv if the disease is identified quickly and no movements on or off the infected unit are allowed by the farmer concerned.
Working on the Canadian model of early identification and total industry cooperation, the English Pig Health and Welfare Council has been formulating a contingency plan since April this year with the promise that the results of its work will be “rolled out soon”.