5 September 2000
MAFF warns of more swine fever

by Philip Clarke

THE Ministry of Agriculture is expecting outbreaks of swine fever to be confirmed on at least two more farms within the next few days.

At a meeting of European veterinary experts in Brussels, representatives from MAFF said animals on two more units were showing clinical signs of the disease.

The admission comes a day after MAFF announced a sixth case of swine fever in Norfolk. It was the first confirmed case of the disease since 12 August.

That pig unit is understood to have had direct contact with the two farms mentioned by the British representatives. Laboratory results are expected shortly.

MAFF veterinary experts also suspect that the latest outbreak occurred because the farmer involved runs a part-time haulage business.

He had contact with one of the original five breeding units affected by swine fever and may have passed it on to his own stock, the EU vets were told.

However, the standing veterinary committee was told the disease has been contained. The latest case occurred 3km from a previously infected farm.

The committee agreed to lift the ban on exports of live pigs and semen from Essex from 15 Sept, subject to no further outbreaks of swine fever in the county.

Brussels is expected to approve the decision on Wednesday (6 Sep). However, restrictions in Suffolk and Norfolk will remain at least until 15 Oct.

A meeting of the veterinary committee on Oct 3 will assess whether the export ban can be lifted in the light of developments over the intervening weeks.