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Colombia’s pig industry on the alert as FMD strikes

Colombia’s pig industry is on a higher level of alert since the country has reported 2 cases of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) this month. One of them even affected a farm with swine.

On October 11, the Colombian Agriculture Institute (ICA) issued a report in which it stated that Foot-and-Mouth Disease was found on a mixed swine and cattle farm in San Diego, Cesar department in the north east of the country. In total, the outbreak included 35 swine and 2 cattle; 20 of the pigs had died. The outbreak had started on August 10.

Read more about swine health in the Pig Progress Health Tool

Wide vaccine coverage in Cesar department

A report to World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) emphasised the ‘wide vaccine coverage’ in the zone, and claimed that the origin of the outbreak had not been determined, although it pointed to the vicinity of Venezuela – with which Cesar department shares a border – among the epidemiological comments.

The report also mentioned some of the measures that have been taken, such as the control of the mobilisation inside the country, the surveillance outside and within the protection zone, traceability checks, quarantine, disinfection and vaccination, as well as no treatment of affected animals.

FMD outbreak in Boyacá department

It wasn’t the 1st outbreak of FMD in Colombia in October, as 10 days prior, the Colombian ministry of agriculture reported about an outbreak of FMD in the municipality of Sogamoso, in the centre east of the department of Boyacá, about 750 km south of the outbreak which  did not involve swine.

This outbreak affected a farm of 18 cows of which 1 was confirmed infected.

Piglets like anyone would like to see them: no foot and no mouth disease. Photo: Vincent ter Beek
Piglets like anyone would like to see them: no foot and no mouth disease. Photo: Vincent ter Beek

Quarantine statement by ministry of agriculture

Immediately, the ministry of agriculture and ICA issued a quarantine statement, forbidding the mobilisation of susceptible animals, which includes cattle, swine, buffaloes, sheep, goats, llamas and alpacas, both outside and within the municipality, as well as towards the state-authorised slaughterhouse of Boyacá, for a 15-day period.

The statement also banned the distribution of fresh meat, raw milk and the gathering of these animals in exhibitions, trade fairs, auctions, livestock markets, etc., and compelled the owners and managers of the farms to allow the inspection of ICA staff.

Clear warning for swine farmers

As a result of this 1st outbreak, PorkColombia, representing pig farmers throughout Colombia, issued a statement, urging pig farmers to refrain from moving the animals that show FMD symptoms to slaughterhouses. The pork producers were urged to immediately give notice to the ICA in the event of the detection of the symptoms in any of their animals.

Moreover, the statement emphasised the importance of a speedy diagnosis and implementation of corrective measures in the case of a notice from the farm. In case irregularities would be detected in a slaughterhouse, ‘serious effects’ will have an impact on farm owners in the area, the association said.

What does Colombia’s pig industry look like? Take a look

Free from FMD with vaccination

Colombia has been working hard to get a status of ‘free from Foot-and-Disease with vaccination’. In 2017, however, the country’s status with the OIE was temporarily suspended between September and December due to a few outbreaks. The areas where outbreaks in 2017 had been found were excepted from the reinstatement of the status. That applied to Boyacá department as well.

Only a part of the Chocó department (close to Panamá), as well as the San Andrés and Providencia islands are confirmed free from FMD without vaccination. Prior to 2017, the last notified FMD outbreak in Colombia was in 2009.

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