ExPEDitious biosecurity will stop summer pig health scares

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

Movement of people, vehicles and animals between pig farms presents a particularly high risk of infection from diseases such as Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea Virus (PEDv), an infection that causes severe diarrhoea in pigs of all ages and can also lead to high death rates amongst piglets.

A particularly virulent strain of the virus has severely affected the pig industry in North America and has since spread to the Ukraine. The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) continue 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 PED a notifiable disease in December 2015.

“Whilst PEDv is not notifiable in Wales, pig keepers are being encouraged to take measures now to minimise the risk of PED and other diseases being introduced to their premises and to their pigs,” said Dr Julie Finch, HCC’s Corporate Strategy and Policy Manager.

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

She advised general biosecurity principles should be followed to minimise the risk of disease, including:

restricting visitor entry;

discouraging visitors if they have been near pigs within the previous two days;

supplying clean overalls and boots for visitors and wash and disinfect after use;

using disinfectant foot dips;

considering displaying politely worded ‘keep out’ or ‘do not enter’ signs

using barriers to limit access to pig areas of the farm/premises - fences and gates, no entry signs;

sourcing incoming pigs and supplies carefully- always ask about the health status of any animals you’re buying or moving and check with the source farm and their vet;

managing wildlife access.

“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.

“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.”

For more information about PED visit the HCC website: