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Disease Information and Preventative Measures


Black text reads Bio-Security and Diseases over a photo with a clear background of a piglet with mud on its mouth.

Biosecurity is essential for pork producers to prevent disease in pigs. We explore some diseases that can affect pigs to show why biosecurity is so important in protecting our animals from these diseases.


Disease control is one of the most challenging areas for pork producers. It is therefore important to know and understand how these diseases function and how to prevent them.


To develop a useful biosecurity plan, it is necessary to know:


  • The prevalence of diseases that can affect your herd,

  • How each disease is transmitted,

  • How each disease can be controlled,

  • How to prevent each disease from entering the herd,

  • The potential cost of an introduction and outbreak.


Infectious disease prevention in pigs is important for both animal welfare and economic productivity. Moreover, prevention is also important for food safety and public health when zoonotic pathogens are concerned. Biosecurity embraces all aspects of the prevention of pathogens entering and spreading within a group of animals.


What is ASF?


Black text reads What is ASF? Over a photo with a clear background of the legs of a piglet that is standing.

African Swine Fever is a highly contagious deadly viral disease that causes hemorrhagic fever in pigs.


How do pigs get infected with ASF?

ASF can spread between pigs in close proximity, from physical contact, or contact with body fluids (even after a long period of time). People can carry it on their clothing, shoes, hands, or even equipment. The virus can stay active on vehicles and tires or on feed that has been contaminated with it. Warthogs in a large part of Africa are natural carriers of the ASF virus but are unaffected by it.


Humans do not get sick from ASF but can transfer the virus to animals.


Consequences of a case of ASF on a farm

If ASF is detected in the farm’s value chain, all the animals on-farm are quarantined and may be culled without compensation to the farm. This would mean that the farm would likely have to close down and risk job losses for all involved.


We follow strict biosecurity measures at Taaibosch Piggery. Some examples for people entering the unit include:


  • No outside pork products or raw meat is allowed to enter the unit

  • All workers and visitors have to shower before entering the units

  • No personal clothes or jewellery are allowed past the showers (work clothes are provided inside the unit)

  • Washing hands regularly, disinfecting gumboots before entering and after leaving buildings

  • Disinfecting cell phones before entering units


View our downloadable ASF Guidelines here.


WHAT IS FMD?


Black text reads What is FMD? Over a photo with a clear background of a Duroc piglet's hoof slightly raised.

One of the very strict biosecurity regulations for all employees and visitors to Taaibosch Piggery is that they can’t have had any contact with cloven-hoofed animals before they enter our units. Foot and Mouth Disease is one of the diseases that can be spread by contact with cloven-hoofed animals.


Foot and Mouth Disease is a highly contagious viral disease that affects cloven-hoofed (two-toed) animals (cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, and some wildlife). It is most commonly found in cattle though. The onset and severity of clinical signs will vary between animals. The most common clinical signs are:


  • Blisters/ulcers/sores in the mouth, feet, muzzle/nostrils and teats of animals

  • Drooling

  • Reluctance or inability to eat

  • Lameness

  • Reluctance to move

  • Redness and/or blanching of coronary bands

Early recognition of clinical signs and prompt reporting are critical to containing this highly contagious disease.


Biosecurity measures are followed to prevent Foot and Mouth Disease in our pig and cattle herds.


What is Glässer's disease?


Black text reads What is Glässer's Disease? Over a photo with a clear background of a piglet from behind.

Glässer's disease is caused by a bacteria called Glaesserella parasuis, which has many different serotypes. It is found globally and is present even in modern farms with good health programs.


In most farms where the bacteria is endemic, sows produce a strong maternal immunity that usually persists in their piglets for 3 to 5 weeks. Clinical disease is most prevalent in pigs 4 to 8 weeks of age. Sometimes it can be present in outbreaks in lactating piglets, mainly in new farms with a full population of first parity sows.


This bacteria can also act as a secondary pathogen to other diseases, particularly enzootic pneumonia.


Glaesserella parasuis attacks serum surfaces that cover joints, intestine, lungs, heart, and brain causing pneumonia, pericardium infection, peritonitis, and pleurisy.


Diagnosis is based on clinical signs and bacterial isolation or PCR or post-mortem examinations. Antibiotic treatment remains the first option to control a disease outbreak, but several vaccines are available for prevention.


What is APP?


Black text reads What is APP? Over a photo with a clear background of a Duroc piglet facing forward.

APP stands for Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae, the scientific name of the bacteria that causes severe unilateral lung disease in pigs.


APP is an inconspicuous but nasty swine lung disease. The symptoms are similar to a severe flu. This infection can commonly occur with other infections such as mycoplasma, influenza, and other pathogens. This makes the disease difficult to recognize unless you have blood tests done.


APP greatly affects the well-being and growth of pigs and will increase the mortality rate.


Mycoplasmal Pneumonia in Pigs


Black text reads What is Mycoplasma? Over a photo with a clear background of the head and front leg of a piglet that is lying down.

Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae is a common cause of pneumonia in pigs worldwide. It is a host-specific pleomorphic organism that lacks a cell wall and is fastidious and smaller than most bacteria. It is highly contagious and mostly transmitted from sows to suckling piglets. However, pigs of all ages are susceptible to infection.


The disease is characterized by a persistent dry cough, impaired growth, occasional flares of overt respiratory distress, and a high incidence of lung lesions post-mortem. The disease can be further complicated by other mycoplasmas, bacteria, or viruses, which will affect the severity of symptoms.


Diagnosis may be based on clinical signs, characteristic lesions, and confirmation by PCR assay.


Disease control can be achieved via improved management practices, antimicrobial treatment, and vaccination. This organism is rapidly inactivated in the environment and by disinfectants, but it may survive longer in cold weather, and depending on the surface of the material.


Source and for more information on Mycoplasmal Pneumonia in Pigs.


Porcine Circovirus (PCV)


Black text reads What is PCV? Over a photo with a clear background of a piglet half raised on its front legs.

Porcine Circovirus (PCV) is a concern in pork farming worldwide. It spreads fast among pigs through direct contact, aerosols, and/or contaminated gear. PCV weakens pig immune systems, making them more vulnerable to other infections.


Veterinarians rely on PCR and serological tests to catch PCV early. Quick action is needed to protect pig populations.


As with all diseases, prevention is better than cure. Vaccinations, biosecurity, and stress reduction are key tools in fighting against PCV.


INFOGRAPHICS FOR USE ON YOUR FARM

We designed informative graphics to be used on your farm, at the farm entrance, or to be handed to visitors:


Feel free to use, access, and share these resources.


Please note that the above is not medical advice and we are not veterinary experts. Please contact your vet in case of any concerns in your own herd.


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