01 March 1999
Bird alert as pig disease breaks out

By FWi staff

FOLLOWING a confirmed outbreak of transmissible gastro-enteritis (TGE) on Humberside, pig producers are urged to take extra bird control measures.

Eddie Bower, manager of the Pig Improvement Companys UK health programme warned that the disease is highly infectious and should not be ignored.

“Birds are one of the main vectors for transmission and steps need to be taken now to reduce the risk of TGE spreading to other units,” he said.

Buildings should be repaired or bird-proof netting put in place to make sure birds keep out of the unit, advises Mr Bower.

Other preventative measures include cleaning up waste feed quickly and closing the doors on feed stores.

In more extensive systems, bird-scarers may be needed and, if a large population of birds exist, culling should be considered, stressed Mr Bower.

TGE is a very infectious viral disease and can cause high mortality in piglets. The main symptoms associated with the disease are diarrhoea, vomiting and anorexia. It does not affect humans.

However, the disease appears to be confined to the single farm, said a spokesman from MAFF.

Local vets have seen no sign of any further outbreaks, but producers on Humberside should be extremely cautious, said one vet. At the first signs of any diarrhoea or vomiting, farmers should contact their vet immediately.