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African swine fever respects no boundaries
ASF has already killed hundreds of millions of pigs worldwide
OIE warns no countries safe from its spread
 

African swine fever (ASF) will spread further across Asia where it has devastated herds, and no country is immune from being hit by the virus, the head of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has said.

The disease, which has hit the world’s top pork producer, China, hard, originated in Africa before spreading to Europe and Asia. It has been found in 50 countries, killing hundreds of million pigs, while reshaping global meat and feed markets; and it has been estimated that a quarter of the world’s pigs could die as a result of spread of the virus.

“We are really facing a threat that is global,” OIE director general, Monique Eloit, told Reuters in an interview. “The risk exists for all countries, whether they are geographically close or geographically distant because there is a multitude of potential sources of contamination.

“African swine fever, which is not harmful to humans, can be transmitted by a tourist bringing back a ham or sausage sandwich from a contaminated country, throwing it away and the garbage being reused by farmers to feed their pigs,” she said. “And there are additional risks from trading live animals and food products across borders and from small breeders using restaurant or train station waste to feed their stock; and in the short term we are not going towards an improvement.”

The disease has had a massive impact on pork production in China which last year accounted for half the world’s pigs – official figures show China’s herd is approximately 40 per cent down year-on-year and Rabobank predicts the herd will have halved by the end of the year.

China has already rapidly grown to become the UK’s biggest customer of pig meat. Pig meat exports so far this year to China alone are worth £93m, more than twice the value during the same period last year.

Speaking at the National Pig Association’s South Central Regional meeting in Newbury, analyst Duncan Wyatt predicted the Asian ASF crisis would ensure the global pork market remains “tight for the next year or two at least” – and, with new export plant approvals, the UK is in a better position to benefit.

“We have just started sending whole pigs in boxes to China. The high price makes it worth doing that. Until now, we might have considered China as a market for those parts of the animal we don’t eat as much, but this is an important tipping point, as it means China’s demand is overlapping with UK demand, which should have a good effect on prices,” he said.

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Vets confirm further five cases of Alabama rot

News Story 1
 Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists has confirmed a further five cases of Cutaneous Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy, also known as Alabama rot.

The cases have been confirmed in Wallingford (Oxfordshire), Horsham (West Sussex), Hungerford (Berkshire - two dogs) and Malmesbury (Wiltshire). It brings the total number of confirmed cases to 198 since 2012. There have been 23 cases so far this year.

Signs that a dog has been affected by the disease include skin lesions on the lower limbs or mouth/tongue, leading to kidney failure. While investigations into the cause of the condition are ongoing, owners are being urged to wash their dog after wet or muddy walks.  

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WSAVA launches certificate programme focusing on companion animals in One Health

The first certificate programme focusing specifically on the role of companion animals in One Health has been launched by the One Health Committee (OHC) of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA).

The online programme, which is free of charge for WSAVA members, has been developed in recognition of the growing impact of companion animals in human society. Pet ownership is becoming more popular globally, and this has increased the implications for One Health, regarding the human-companion animal bond. The WSAVA OHC hopes that this course will bridge the knowledge gap between veterinary surgeons and human physicians. New modules are being added weekly, with a total of 20 modules expected to be available by early 2020.