The many ways African swine fever could get into our pigs

 

By Alistair Driver, Pig World (UK)

February 8, 2019

 

Defra has published a report explaining its decision to raise the risk level of African swine fever entering the UK from ‘low’ to ‘medium’. It certainly makes for sobering reading. Alistair Driver reports

 

The message to producers and others connected to pigs in the UK is clear. “Risk managers will need to consider more options for risk reduction,” according to a report by Defra explaining why the risk level of African swine fever (ASF) entering the UK has been raised to ‘medium’.

 

The new risk rating suggests incursions will occur ‘regularly or are likely with a medium level of uncertainty’. The report even puts a figure on it – 20%, albeit with an uncertainty range of 15-70%.

 

In an important distinction, Defra still rates the overall risk of ASF affecting pigs in the UK as ‘low’, although it stresses that this is highly dependent on the level of biosecurity deployed by pig keepers of all types and sizes and others.

 

The higher risk rating reflects the ‘deteriorating’ disease situation in the EU since June 2017, with several new areas in Poland, Romania, Hungary, Czech Republic and Belgium reporting disease, and the range of possible routes of incursion into the UK. These ‘jumps’ are most likely to have been caused by humans, including via the movement of contaminated meat products, which have been left in areas where wild boar can access them, and the introduction of the virus into domestic pig farms with low biosecurity.

 

The virus persists for long periods in the environment and in fresh, frozen or preserved meats. While it is highly pathogenic in domestic pigs and wild boar, the rate of spread within herds appears to be relatively slow (days to weeks) – via direct contact with infected animals, their secretions or ingestion of contaminated feed, products or contact with contaminated surfaces. As a result, suspect cases may not be reported in a timely manner, the document noted.

 

The document assesses the various ways the virus could get into the UK.

 

ROMANIAN IMPORTS ...

 

ILLEGAL TRADE IN ANIMAL PRODUCTS ...

 

PASSENGERS, VISITORS, WORKERS AND HUNTERS ...

 

VEHICLES AND SHIPPING ...

 

OTHER LESS LIKELY ROUTES ...

 

EXPOSURE RISK ...

 

COMMERCIAL PIGS ...

 

NON-COMMERCIAL AND LOW BIOSECURITY PIG FARMS ...

 

FERAL PIGS ...

 

more

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