Interactive map tracks swine flu across Europe

SWINE FLU MAP RI Farm
SAMPLE: A pig being sampled for swine flu.

A new service which will help farmers and vets track a serious pig disease across much of Europe has been launched by Ceva.

Simply clicking on a link to a web page gives access to an interactive Swine Flu map. This shows the development of the strains of influenza detected on pig units by country and even by region. It is updated on a quarterly basis.

STRAINS: Interactive map shows European countries where different strains of swine flu have been diagnosed

“To be able to make the correct diagnosis and decide upon the appropriate prevention and vacc-ination programme, it is important for veterinarians and farmers to know if influenza is occurring in their region and also the different strains,” said Dr Kathrin Lillie-Jaschniski, a specialist vet-erinarian with Ceva.

Ceva’s support of the diagnosis of influenza in Europe has enabled it to introduce this unique service. Since 2009, pandemic strains have been detected in pig herds, changing the dynamics on many farms.

To detect the virus, a variety of samples – such as nasal swabs, oral fluids or lung tissues – are taken in herds with acute clinical signs of flu, or those with persistent respiratory or reproductive sym-ptoms, and are then analysed in laboratories. To protect farmers’ privacy, individual farms are not identified in the interactive Swine Flu map. This is mainly important in less pig-dense areas.

The service – available in Germany, UK, Poland, Czech Republic, Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Hungary and Italy – is free and can be accessed through www.swine.ceva.com

Normally such information is only published in scientific journals long after virus detection, sometimes years later.

“Evidence that classical and

pandemic strains of flu are occurr-ing in a particular region gives a strong signal that vaccination should be considered. Pandemic strains can also spill over from pigs to humans and vice versa, so there is a public health aspect, too,” said Dr Lillie-Jaschniski.

“Apart from the health aspect, swine flu can have serious eco-nomic consequences for a pig herd, especially if other respiratory infections are present.

SPECIALIST: Dr Kathrin Lillie-Jaschniski

“One French survey showed the cost of an outbreak in gilts was as much as 16 euros loss per gilt while another study from Sweden calculated a loss of 77 euros per sow,” she added.

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