Classical swine fever (CSF) is an important notifiable viral disease of pigs. Clinical signs of CSF in pigs can be very variable, and depend on the virus strain. The UK has been CSF-free since the last outbreak in East Anglia in 2000 but outbreaks have occurred in Eastern Europe, the Balkans region and Russia in both domestic and wild pigs.
Characterisation of the patterns of how farmers move pigs. and the implications this has for disease spread, has aided the development of a model to simulate the spread of CSF in both Scotland and Great Britain. This model integrates various level of disease spread (within-herd spread, spread via the movement of pigs and local spread) as well as simulating the activities that would be put in place in the event of an outbreak to control the disease in the UK. The model includes movement information from real-time, electronic databases that record pig movements in Scotland and England/Wales.
A large body of work is being carried out in EPIC, in collaboration with the Strategic Research Programme of the Scottish Government, to assess the potential impact of swine fever (ASF or CSF) incursions on the British pig industry. Particularly, this programme aims to help the Scottish Government to (1) better understand structure of the pig industry in Scotland and GB, and (2) develop more robust surveillance and control plans against swine fevers. Work conducted by EPIC scientists includes:
EPIC scientists participated in the AHVLA (now APHA) 2013 CSF simulation, 'Exercise Walnut' which tested preparedness for a CSF outbreak. Participants included AHVLA, Defra, the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD). A lessons learnt report was produced to identify strengths and weaknesses in GB's preparedness for a CSF outbreak.
EPIC scientists regularly meet with pig industry representatives and experts to discuss their work. Through these meetings EPIC scientists keep stakeholders up to date with the latest research and receive feedback on their work, helping to ensure it remains relevant and accurate in reflecting the situation in Scotland.
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