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Swine Influenza Affects Many Herds

19 October 2012, at 2:05pm

UK and IRELAND - The incidence of swine influenza in pig herds in the UK and Ireland could be higher than expected if the results of a recent survey are replicated across the national herds in these countries. Routine diagnostic blood testing in these countries indicates most herds tested were positive for swine flu.

Brian Rice, Veterinary Adviser with Merial Animal Health, said: “More than seventy per cent of herds tested in the Great Britain had one or more pig that tested positive, while this figure increased to over ninety per cent in Ireland. Historically, and with no vaccine available, the industry has tended to be reactive to swine influenza, managing outbreaks as they arose, but more and more producers are now realising the benefits of vaccinating against the disease."

“There is a strong economic case for considering preventative treatment. Swine influenza causes fever, apathy, anorexia and respiratory signs such as dyspnoea and sneezing, which affect both welfare and productivity. In sows it can affect return to oestrus, cause abortion, increase the number of still born piglets and decrease lactation.“

Previous research carried out in 2008/9 by the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) and the COSI Consortium1 across a broader sample of around 17 per cent of the English herd showed that nearly six in ten farms (59 per cent) had pigs that were positive for one of the strains of swine influenza.

“Many people may be surprised by just how widespread the disease is but the real question is how they plan to mitigate the potential risks posed by swine influenza to the productivity of their herds,“ says Mr Rice.

“Merial encourages producers to ask their vets to investigate the herds swine influenza status and to put in place appropriate preventative measures.“

Further Reading

Find out more information on influenza in pigs by clicking here.