Stay vigilant in show season, pork producers warned

Pork producers in Wales are being encouraged to stick strictly to general biosecurity practices ahead of the summer show season.

According to Hybu Cig Cymru - Meat Promotion Wales (HCC), movement of people, vehicles and animals between pig farms presents a particularly high risk of infection from diseases such as porcine epidemic diarrhoeavirus (PEDv), an infection that causes severe diarrhoea in pigs of all ages and can also lead to high death rates amongst piglets.

This comes as a particularly virulent strain of the virus has severely affected the pig industry in North America and has since spread to Ukraine. The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) is continuing to monitor the situation in Europe to help minimise the risk of the disease entering the UK. England, with large numbers of pigs located close to European transport routes, made PEDv a notifiable disease in December 2015.

Dr Julie Finch, HCCs corporate strategy and policy manager, said: Whilst PEDv is not notifiable in Wales, pig-keepers are being encouraged to take measures now to minimise the risk of PEDv and other diseases being introduced to their premises and to their pigs.

HCC will be joining forces with Farming Connect at the RWAS Spring Festival to help producers ensure that they minimise disease risks through a series of demonstrations for pig producers on pig health and safe handling.

She explained how easy it was for PEDv to be contracted.

The main source of PEDv is infected faeces. Anything that is contaminated with even a tiny amount of infected pig faeces can be a source of infection for other pigs. Effective cleaning and disinfection can inactivate and destroy pathogens from any potentially contaminated surfaces, including vehicles, clothing and equipment.

A line of separation is a good way to differentiate between the farm facilities, its animals and staff from lorries, trailers and people who must remain outside of the pig production area this could include hauliers, feed deliveries, contractors removing manure etc, said Dr Finch. Remember, if a supplier is delivering pig-related items to you, including feed and equipment, the chances are they have been to another pig unit. Maintain distance between your pigs and the vehicle and driver and, where possible, try to receive deliveries at the edge of your property.

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