Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Officials Worry Yet Another Lethal Pig Disease May be Coming to Canada

by Larry Powell
The Manager of the "Canada West Swine Health Intelligence Network" warns, now that African Swine Fever (ASF) has been confirmed in China, the risk of it spreading to North America, has increased. 
Dr. Jette Christensen, veterinary epidemeologist.
Dr. Jette Christensen (above) describes ASF as "a serious and trade-limiting viral infection." Speaking on the industry-sponsored radio program, "Farmscape," she assured listeners, if  the Canadian industry follows import regulations, "they should be safe." But she also warns that the virus can survive for months outside the host in pork products.

The swelling around the kidneys and the muscle hemorrhages shown here are 
typical of pigs with African swine fever. Karen Apicelli USDA
Dr. Christensen warns Canadian producers, that workers they hire, could bring the disease home with them after vacationing in China or Eastern Europe. And they should even be careful when bringing in exchange students, for the same reason.

AFS does not affect humans, so is not considered a food safety concern. But it is described as one of the deadliest diseases of pigs.

The World Health Organization warns that crowded, confined and intensive livestock"factories" (used widely in Canada and around the world), increase the risk of such infectious diseases. 
Delia Grace Randolph, veterinary epidemiologist.
And, in the words of Delia Grace Randolph of the International Livestock Research Institute (above), "The evidence seems quite clear that intensification, especially of pigs and poultry, is associated with emerging infectious zoonotic disease, foodborn disease and antimicrobial resistant pathogens."

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