Pig keepers are being urged to keep anyone with the flu away from their stock.
The warning, to hobby farmers as much as commercial producers, follows the publication of a Code of Practice and a free influenza testing service offered by SAC and the Veterinary Laboratories Agency. The industry is anxious to ensure so-called “swine flu” does not infect pigs.
As the new virus (H1N1/09v) circulates amongst humans there is an increased risk that it may be passed accidently to pigs and become endemic in the pig population. There is no evidence that H1N1/09v, or any other influenza viruses, can be spread by eating meat products. However infection in live pigs could become a reservoir for further infection to humans.
According to the Code of Practice, those keeping pigs should control the access of people to their animals, control the movement of pigs on the premises and review their biosecurity. Anyone with clinical signs of influenza, or is in close contact with someone with influenza should avoid contact with pigs.
Pigs with influenza show clinical signs of respiratory disease, including coughing, sneezing, runny noses, fever, lethargy and reddening of eyes. If these signs are noticed it is recommended pig keepers seek advice from their veterinary practice. SAC Consulting; Veterinary Disease Surveillance Centres will sample and test any suspected cases that are submitted for post-mortem examination.
According to Dr. Jill Thomson, SAC Consulting: Veterinary Services pigs specialist
“There is no evidence that H1N1/09v has infected any pigs in the UK as yet. It is important that pig keepers, be they hobby farmers or commercial producers do their utmost to keep things that way. This will safeguard pig health and welfare and avoid pigs becoming a reservoir for human infection.”
TB Announcement Boost for Scottish Cattle Sector
XLVets Get On Their Bikes for Charity
Farm Health Planning at Dairy Event and Livestock Show