Tuesday, 28 January 2014

PEDv - USA - Failing Production Model

Under the strains of a massive PEDv epidemic, pig farming in the USA are getting part way there

"We move pigs around a lot, which increases risk,'' added Torremorell.
"Our production model is a disadvantage."

Their problem, as in Britain and elsewhere, is a massive infrastructure: intellectual, financial, sales and physical committed to the current production model.

It is going to be a major problem to change course to something safer and more resilient.

If they solve PEDv with vaccines, as they hope eventually, there will still be a dozen more disease disasters lined up to exploit the same weaknesses in a dangerous failed model.

And that is a model  reliant on huge quantities of antibiotics to keep co-infections under control and any semblance of a successful industry.

Full report here

PEDV discussed at length during Minnesota Pork Congress

Lisa Young / Agri News

Lisa Becton, Dave Wright and Montserrat Torremorell answered audience questions on PRRS, influenza and PEDV during a moderated panel at Minnesota Pork Congress on Jan. 14.

Posted: Monday, January 27, 2014 10:02 am |Updated: 10:02 am, Mon Jan 27, 2014.

Lisa Young,

MINNEAPOLIS - Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus was the hot topic during the Minnesota Pork Congress.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Live near a big pig farm? Three times the risk of MRSA.

The last three weeks have been exceptionally busy for those campaigning for state veterinary reform in Britain.

There is much to record, including a rebellion by Britain's younger veterinarians on the question of antibiotics used in livestock farming...

...an admission that export pig semen from Britain is extended by antibiotics

...and yet another new disease killing Britain's dogs, probably Alabama Rot, covered up for over a year, some sources claim it is the same as that found over the couple of years on the Queen's estate at Sandringham and elsewhere in the east of England

...Britain's biggest farm veterinarians and antibiotic suppliers selling out to venture capitalists

...Swine Dysentery reported in Cornwall, as well as Yorkshire,  possibly antibiotic resistant

...Britain's third largest pig consolidator going bust

...PEDv found in Canadian pigs

...The pig pricing system in Britain  breaking down under competitive pressure

but that can all wait, perhaps the most serious farm problem impacting on human health remains antibiotic resistance on pig farms.

Maryn McKenna tells us that there are very real risks to living near a large intensive pig farm.

Be sure to read the whole article, here

Almost Three Times the Risk of Carrying MRSA from Living Near a Mega-Farm

BY MARYN MCKENNA 01.22.14 2:06 PM

In the long fight over antibiotic use in agriculture, one of the most contentious points is whether the resistant bacteria that inevitably arise can move off the farm to affect humans. Most of the illnesses that have been associated with farm antibiotic use — resistant foodborne illness, for example — occur so far from farms that opponents of antibiotic control find them easy to dismiss. So whenever a research team can link resistant bacteria found in humans with farms that are close to those humans, it is an important contribution to the

A team from the University of Iowa, Iowa City Veterans Affairs, and Kent State University have done just that. In next month’s Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, they survey 1,036 VA patients who lived in rural Iowa and were admitted to the Iowa City facility in 2010 and 2011. Overall, among those patients, 6.8 percent were carrying MRSA, drug-resistant staph, in their nostrils. But the patients’ likelihood of carrying MRSA was 2.76 times higher if they lived within one mile of a farm housing 2,500 or more pigs.

They say:

The increasing populations of swine raised in densely populated CAFOs and exposed to antibiotics presents opportunities for drug-resistant pathogens to be transmitted among human populations. Our study indicates that residential proximity to large numbers of swine in CAFOs in Iowa is associated with increased risk of MRSA colonization.

Some important things to unpack here:

MRSA (formally, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) often “colonizes” people — takes up residence on the skin or in the nostrils — before it causes an infection. Studies have shown repeatedly that
being colonized with MRSA increases the risk of contracting a difficult-to-treat infection.

Because of that risk, and because MRSA spreads easily in hospitals, the VA since 2006 has required facilities to screen all incoming patients to see whether they are carrying MRSA and thus are posing a
risk to other patients.

MRSA is frequently found in the vicinity of pigs: not just MRSA ST398, the specific resistant variety that was first identified in pig farmers in the Netherlands in 2004, but the garden-variety community forms as well.

And Iowa has a lot of pigs: 19 million, according to the US Department of Agriculture, housed in about 7,000 “CAFOs” (for confined or concentrated animal-feeding operations), which the US Environmental Protection Agency defines as a facility of at least 1,000 pigs, though most are many thousands larger.

(If you’d like to know more about MRSA, including the “livestock-associated “pig MRSA” variety, I wrote a book. OK, back to this paper.)...

Be sure to read the whole article. (the book really is very readable too, spelling out, as it does, the human costs of doing nothing.)

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Yorkshire - Swine Dysentery Outbreak

Swine Dysentery has been a reoccurring problem in Yorkshire for the last few years. One outbreak was blamed on infected weaners from Scotland by veterinarians.

Some details of previous outbreaks are on the blog detailed below (use the search box.)

If the report of swine dysentery arriving from Scotland was accurate, and it sounds plausible, it is merely another example of movements of live animals and semen being the main vector for the movement of diseases in, out and around the UK.

Scotland has imported piglets from Denmark too, suggesting a lack of confidence in the health of local stock.

The movement of live pigs and semen worldwide has increased massively in recent years. It should be no surprise that increased animal and zoonotic outbreaks become more frequent.

Free trade in such items seem to bring more dangers than benefits to both farmers and public health: benefits to the few, disaster to the many.

The report from the Pig Site is short, but can be viewed in full  here.

Swine Dysentery Outbreak in Yorkshire
10 January 2014

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Schmallenberg Virus in Bovine Semen

We have never believed the official explanation for the arrival of Schmallenberg Virus to Britain.

The facts at the very beginning did not match the explanations.

Defra's veterinarians even got the geography of their own country round their necks in their rush to find an explanation that suited them.

You have to remember the motto of Britain's hapless government veterinarians for every incursion of animal and zoonotic disease into the British Isles:

"Blame someone else, preferably innocent."

That's not say that SBV does not travel in midges, merely it did not arrive in Britain in midges over the route stated.

That's a very different thing. You can find our objections from the beginning in the archives here (use the search box above).

Anyway, it looks like SBV can travel in bovine semen.

Britain cannot and does not control the movement of germplasm from EU countries at the borders. It relies on veterinary certification, and we all know that veterinary practice is often to sign anything and everything put under their noses recklessly without much regard to the consequences.

Now this suggests a much more likely route!


"…In conclusion, we demonstrated that SBV RNA-positive bovine semen could contain infectious SBV. However, the actual risk for transmission of SBV by insemination of dams with SBV-containing semen
remains to be evaluated. Although SBV infection of the developing embryo is unlikely, venereal transmission would lead at worst to viremia of the dam, facilitating vector transmission. To prevent venereal SBV transmission, sensitive PCR testing of semen batches from SBV-infected bulls is the method of choice (1,10)."

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

USA - Three Million Pigs Possibly Lost Due to PEDV

That's a lot of pigs. It becomes increasingly clear that the PEDv is not airborne.

The Americans correctly deduce that humans are the main vector of carriage.

There is too much traffic through the average pig farm of people going from farm to farm, everywhere

That's nothing new. During the Classical Swine Fever (CSF)  and,  Foot and Mouth (FMD) epidemics in Britain, government veterinarians were going from infected farms to clean ones and not always taking the appropriate precautions.

If you allow government veterinarians to edit or fake the data to remove them from any possibility of fault, you will never get to stop the national and international movement of animal and zoonotic disease.

The remedy is clear, supervise them and if you catch them: sack and prosecute.

If that had been the policy in Britain in 1999, intensive livestock farming would not be in the mess it is in now.

Government also needs to tackle the associated disinformation campaigns.

Full National Hog Farmer report here

Three Million Pigs Possibly Lost Due to PEDV

Jan. 6, 2014

Source: South Dakota State University

Three million pigs may have been lost to porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) during 2013, according to some estimates, says Bob Thaler, South Dakota State University (SDSU) Extension swine specialist...