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Producers urged to refocus on biosecurity

25th Sep 2020 / By Alistair Driver

NPA chairman Richard Lister has urged producers to give extra consideration to biosecurity in light of Germany’s African swine fever (ASF) outbreak and continued cases of swine dysentery in the UK.

Lister 6“Swine Dysentery was a big challenge for our sector last year and whilst we have significantly less cases, there are  a number of fresh cases," he said. 

APHA’s Q2 surveillance shows, while the number of confirmed swine dysentery cases is down on 2019 levels, there were cases in North Yorkshire, Devon and Kent in the first six months of 2020.

"SD is a highly transmissible disease and therefore it is really important to be signed up to the Significant Diseases Charter run by AHDB. It aims to control disease quickly and effectively and currently covers the sharing of information for both swine dysentery and PEDv outbreaks," Mr Lister said. 

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ASF concerns 

Mr Lister added that the situation in Germany, where 32 outbreaks of ASF have now been confirmed in wild boar, should further focus minds on the devastating impact an ASF outbreak would have in this country. 

“It is easy to become a bit complacent, particularly at this moment when we are distracted by other events. 

"But I urge all producers to renew their efforts to prevent the spread of disease – by, for example, ensuring protocols are properly followed on farms and that all transport is thoroughly cleaned between pig movements, in line with the #muckfreetruck campaign.

“I also urge producers to remind themselves of the advice about keeping ASF out of their herds.”

The UK’s official ASF risk level remains at ‘medium’, although APHA stresses that the chances entering the pig population depends on the industry’s biosecurity. The number of domestic pig premises reporting ASF is increasing in Europe, particularly in Poland, Romania and Russia, while ASF is still present in wild boar across much of eastern and central Europe.

Therefore, there still remains a risk of entry of ASFV in products of animal origin from affected countries, including from illegal imports, APHA says.

Key APHA advice includes:

  • All travellers are strongly advised to avoid bringing any pork products – for example, dried or cured meats, sausages, salamis or pâté – back to the UK from affected parts of Europe. Travellers from Asia and other third country areas who bring meat or dairy products can also face prosecution and a large fine.
  • All pig keepers, pig producers, smallholders and general public must ensure pigs are not fed catering waste, kitchen scraps or pork products, thereby observing the swill feeding ban.
  • All pig keepers should remain vigilant and ensure that any visitors to their premises have not had any recent contact with pigs or pig premises in the affected regions.
  • People returning from any ASF-affected areas of the world should avoid any contact with domestic pigs in commercial holdings, smallholdings or even household pet pigs.
  • Habitats where feral pigs or wild boar exist should also be avoided.
  • All clothing, footwear or equipment should be disinfected before entering pig areas.
  • Pig keepers and veterinarians should remind themselves of the clinical signs for ASF. Any suspect cases must be reported promptly.
  • For more information see: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/african-swine-fever
  • You can access regular ASF updates, as well as advice and guidance on the NPA’s ASF Hub.

And here is a reminder of the #MuckFreeTruck messages:

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