Pig farmers warned to be vigilant
MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Pig farmers have been warned to be extra vigilant in minimising visitors to their farms in order to protect against the porcine epidemic diarrhoea (PED) virus now afflicting North America.
“Do not allow visits to farms just like that, especially if they (visitors) are from anywhere outside of Jamaica,” immediate past president Delroy Manya told farmers at the recent annual general meeting of the Jamaica Pig Farmers Association..
And Christopher Levy of Hi-Pro limited also cautioned that “bio security on the farm” should be given top priority.
“This pig disease … is a big issue do not treat bio security on your farm lightly … we have a very unique situation in that we are a small island so we are relatively clean compared to many others but we have to work assiduously to protect that,” he said.
According to the ministry of agriculture in a recent release: “Porcine epidemic diarrhoea is a viral disease of swine caused by coronavirus and characterised by watery diarrhoea and emaciation affecting all ages of pigs. Although the disease affects all ages, it is most fatal to neonatal piglets. Mortality in piglets older than 10 days is less than 10 per cent, but may reach 100 per cent in piglets less than one week old, due primarily to diarrhoea and dehydration. Older pigs recover in about a week, but reinfection may occur in five months. The disease is highly contagious and transmissible mainly by faeco-oral route, after the introduction of infected animals or infected materials. The disease may be present throughout the year but is more prevalent during the cold season. Clinical signs include anorexia, vomiting, diarrhoea and dehydration”.
The ministry said that the need for biosecurity had been emphasised at several workshops organised for pig farmers in recent months.
“Farmers have been urged to increase biosecurity on their farms/holdings, including improved sanitation/hygiene, preventing the entry of visitors on to farms, particularly overseas visitors or locals who recently travelled overseas where cases of the disease have been reported,” the agriculture ministry said.
The disease is said to be rampant in the United States and Canada.
Manya spoke of reports that it was also affecting several Latin American countriues and had been identified in the Dominican Republic and Haiti.