28 November 1997

Learn from us to control CSF, say Dutch producers

Traceability, futuristic pig

housing and vaccination

against classical swine fever

were topics to the fore at

Hollands intensive livestock

production show, VIV Europe,

held last week in Utrecht.

Jonathan Riley reports

UK pig producers must learn from Hollands classical swine fever epidemic to limit future outbreaks, according to senior Dutch vet Paul Rambags of the Netherlands Animal Health Service.

He suggested the scale of the Dutch outbreak could have been reduced dramatically, had the industry acted more responsibly.

On suspecting a case of CSF, vets have to notify the animal health service and blood samples must then be checked before a restriction order preventing movement of pigs can be imposed on the farm.

"This takes 24 hours and on the farm where CSF was first identified in this years outbreak, the producer, suspecting his unit would be shut down, managed to sell many of his pigs to neighbouring farms and other units across Holland during this time," said Mr Rambags. The disease spread to every unit that bought the pigs and to all units visited subsequently by the many trucks which called at the farm during the 24 hours.

"This not only led to a multi-million £ outbreak but has also led to the Dutch governments proposal to reduce the national pig herd by 25%," says Mr Rambags.

He warned all EU producers to act more responsibly and to tighten disease precautions against CSF.

"Just because the disease is not in the UK there is no excuse for lax health security and producers should take every precaution to keep this disease and others out."

He advised producers to change clothes before entering units, and for every worker to shower on and off the unit and for foot dips to be placed outside every building.

"Transport loading and unloading areas must be resited so that trucks have to pass through wheel washes and do not come into contact with growing or breeding pigs," said Mr Rambags.

He also urged producers to keep a record of truck movements and to check the health status of pigs recently transported.

KEEPING OUT CSF

&#8226 Change clothes before entering unit.

&#8226 Everyone showers on and off unit.

&#8226 Foot dips outside every building.

Paul Rambags… Act more responsibly and tighten disease precautions against CSF.