14 September 2001

Concerns raised over serum jabs

INJECTING piglets with blood serum from healthy herdmates has reduced mortality from PDNS and PWMS, according to preliminary Spanish research.

In one experiment, 300 animals were used to investigate artificially passing immunity from healthy pigs, said Spanish vet Enric Marco.

"This involved choosing the best pigs in the barn, taking blood and injecting the separated serum into two-week-old piglets," he said.

This vaccination approach reduced PDNS and PMWS mortality from 12% to 2%. "However, this is only one small experiment and we dont know which antibodies were responsible for the effect," warned Mr Marco.

French vet Jean-Michel Guillaume highlighted several concerns with the technique, including how to decide which pigs to select and adhering to current legislation.

In the conferences question and answer session, there were several concerns over Mr Marcos technique. One delegate warned that it could lead to the inadvertent spread of classical swine fever between pigs because symptoms are similar to those of PDNS and PMWS.