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  • Help protect the UK from African Swine Fever

    Posted on by Abii Dowdy

    We need to be vigilant with our animals to avoid the introduction of African Swine Fever to the UK; a disease that has killed millions of pigs worldwide.

    A new campaign which has been welcomed with open arms from the British Veterinary Association plans to stop the devastating disease, ASF, entering the UK and affecting our pork and pig industries. As you will know from our previous blog (https://towcester-vets.co.uk/2018/10/african-swine-fever/), African Swine Fever is a highly contagious, fatal, viral haemorrhagic disease that can affect pigs and wild boars. There is currently no cure or vaccine for ASF.

    Due to more outbreaks in EU member states, this new campaign will be used to raise awareness of the disease and associated risks at our airports and ports in the UK. Increased baggage checks and a crackdown on meat imports will hopefully reduce the likelihood of infected meat entering the UK. Current countries affected by African Swine Fever are: Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Latvia, Estonia and Belgium.

    Our farm team will be working alongside our farming clients to help people recognise the clinical signs of ASF and to examine the animals so that the APHA can be made aware of anything suspicious as soon as possible. The main ways that ASF can spread are as follows:

    • Contaminated meat products coming into the UK from infected regions. People doing this can be faced with prosecution and a large fine.
    • Pigs being fed kitchen scraps including pork products.
    • Travellers returning to the UK from affected areas who may have been in contact with domestic pigs, commercial and small holdings. ASF can be spread by contaminated footwear, clothing and equipment.

    Please be aware that African Swine Fever poses no threat to humans, but it has led to the deaths of over 4 million pigs and wild boars worldwide. This has led to an increase in pork prices and could have a devastating effect on the UK’s pig trade. The ASF virus survives incredibly well in meat (smoked, dried and cured meat) and can likely last for years in frozen pork meat. Because of this biosecurity is of the highest importance!

     

    If you’d like to discuss African Swine Fever with our team, or if you’re concerned one of your pigs may be displaying clinical signs, please contact us ASAP – 01327 350239.

    The PDF below from the APHA shows some clinical signs of ASF:

    http://apha.defra.gov.uk/documents/surveillance/diseases/african-swine-fever-images.pdf