Since 2006, China's pig population has been devastated by Blue Ear/High-Fever
Disease resulting in the deaths of millions of pigs. The goal of the
visit was to assist the Chinese in diagnosing the disease and to enable them to
Real-time PCR - polymerase chain reaction - assays developed at Tetracore and
K-State were used to look for and provide rapid laboratory diagnosis of likely
The cause of the disease is believed to be a variant form of porcine reproductive and
The team travelled to several farms to collect samples together with
prominent scientists from four research centres.
According to Hesse, "the problem in China's herd appears to be a
multifactorial disease complex". Researchers did find porcine reproductive and
respiratory syndrome virus, though not in all cases. The majority of the samples
contained more than one type of virus. Classical swine fever virus, porcine
reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus and porcine circovirus 2b were most
commonly found in diseased pigs.
Need for monitoring
Hesse emphasised the fact that the
lack of monitoring of animal disease in China along with the lack of uniform
practices among pig producers has lead to the spread of Blue Ear/High-Fever
Disease in the country.
"The Chinese need efficacious porcine circovirus vaccines like those
available in the US," he said.
Several biosecurity control mechanisms to hinder the spread of disease were
proposed to the Chinese.
Exchange opportunities with Chinese universities and research institutes have
also been established.
Dean of the K-State College of Veterinary Medicine, Ralph Richardson, said
that such trips highlight the expertise at K-State as well as allow the
university to reach out to collaborators.
"Animal and zoonotic diseases don't recognise geographic borders. Foreign
exchange opportunities are one of the best ways to acquaint the veterinarians of
tomorrow with diseases they might not see in common practice."
â€¢ Kansas State College of Veterinary
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