African Swine Fever
If you have ever wondered why biosecurity is so essential on our farms, you only have to look at the rapid rise of African Swine Fever. The disease is spreading fast in Asia and continental Europe and it is vital that British and Irish pig farmers remain vigilant if we are to maintain animal health and prevent an outbreak here.
What is African Swine fever?
African Swine Fever (ASF) is a severe viral infection that began in East Africa around the turn of the twentieth century. It is highly contagious and can have a 100% mortality rate, creating significant production and economic losses.
Animals will typically start to show symptoms between three and fifteen days after infection, including high fever, lethargy and loss of appetite, although many animals will not show any symptoms before dying suddenly. If the animal reaches the later stages of the disease, they may display reddening of the skin, diarrhoea and vomiting, laboured breathing, eye discharge and issues with pregnancy, including still births.
The risk to animal health from ASF in the UK and Ireland is considered to be low to medium. Nonetheless, ASF is a notifiable disease and any suspected outbreak must be reported to your DAERA regional office or direct to DAERA via the helpline on 03000 200 301.
How does African Swine fever spread?
Since it first emerged, ASF has spread across sub-Saharan Africa into Russia, Asia and Eastern Europe, mainly through transmission in the wild boar population. In September 2018, it was reported in two wild boars in Belgium, close to the French border, and by April this year, the number of cases had risen to over 700.
The disease spreads in a number of ways, including direct contact with infected wild or domesticated pigs, the eating of infected pork products and, most importantly, through fomites, or non-living vectors such as shoes, clothing and vehicles that have been exposed to the disease. With a large number of British and Irish pig farm workers coming from Eastern Europe to work, the risk of transmission in this way presents a very real danger.
Strict biosecurity protocols
The ASF virus is remarkably resilient and can survive for long periods, so strict biosecurity protocols are essential. The virus can last up to 11 days in faeces at room temperature and as long as 70 days in blood on wooden boards. As discussed above it can travel on clothing, footwear and even vehicles from contaminated areas.
To provide the highest levels of animal health protection for your pig production unit, farmers must introduce and insist on a range of measures, including:
• Only allowing essential visitors to the unit
• Never allowing people who have been in contact with pigs onto the unit
• Banning all pork products, catering waste and scraps from the unit
• Insisting that clean or disposable clothing is worn at all times
• Thoroughly disinfecting any vehicles before they are allowed on the farm
• Not allowing workers on to the unit for at least three days after a visit to Europe
• Educating all staff about the risks and their responsibilities
Kersia is here to help
Kersia offers a comprehensive range of biosecurity products for use as part of your biosecurity regime to prevent ASF, including:
• Agavox-N, Virex and Agacid 5+ for low temperature use
• Effisafe for dirty surfaces, footbaths/decontamination areas
• Agavox-N and Effisafe for short contact time vehicle disinfection
• Hypred Force7 and Viroshield for building surfaces in a normal condition
• Fumagri OPP for disinfection of food silos and surfaces only accessible by ultradiffusion
• Aquasept or HPPA for disinfection of drinking water
• Hypra’zur for disinfecting laundry and clothes
• Softy Touch and Duo Touch for use as hand sanitisers
• Fumicide DM for use as an ultradiffusible insecticide
Kersia products Effisafe, Hypred Force 7 and Virex have been proven to be effective against ASF when measured against the EN14675 norm.
Your local Kersia representative will be happy to help you to audit your biosecurity programme, suggesting enhancements and upgrades where necessary, to keep your pig production unit safe and disease free.
Given the rapid spread of ASF across the world, and more recently right on our doorstep in Europe, we must all be on our guard if we are to prevent this destructive disease reaching the UK and Ireland and maintain animal health. With Kersia on your team, you can play your part in protecting our national biosecurity.
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