Pig disease spreads to Europe

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Highly virulent Asian-American Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea virus has spread to Europe. The disease is extremely infectious — a thimbleful of manure from an infected pig unit is 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, says the National Pig Association. Therefore all pig-keepers must consider themselves personally responsible for ensuring it does not get onto their own farm.

Producers should 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, says NPA.

The highly-virulent strain of PEDv is not in the European Union yet but it is in the Ukraine, which borders the European Union countries of Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania. It was discovered in mid-Ukraine by internationally-known British vet Dr John Carr, who has now had the strain sequenced in Britain to confirm his suspicion that it is the virulent Asian-American strain, and not the European strain.

Dr Carr cites a well-run commercial 5,000-sow unit in Ukraine where 
30,000 piglets died over a matter of weeks.