New challenges caused by diseases affecting the immune system of pigs have been addressed at meetings in Philippines and Thailand, in late January 2008.
Besides discussing the current local situation, the meetings were focused on two major causes of reduced immunity in pigs: Postweaning Multisystemic Wasting Syndrome (PMWS) and mycotoxins.
In total, more than 350 people attended these meetings.
The meetings were organised by Belgian feed additives company Impextraco, which had invited Dr FranÃ§ois Madec, vice-director of one of the Veterinary Research Laboratories of the French Agency for Food Safety (AFSSA) and head of the Epidemiology Research Unit, who has a vast experience of swine diseases in general and is one of a handful of experts on PMWS in the world.
In two meetings in the Philippines, one in Manila and one in Cebu, Madec talked about swine influenza and major viral diseases, like Classical Swine Fever and PRRS and PMWS, having a severe impact on mortality in pigs.
He also explained how to establish a diagnosis and to prevent and control these diseases.
Disease to be identified
Dr Romeo E Sanchez, associate professor at the University of the Philippines Los BaÃ±os, described symptoms recently observed on several commercial pig farms in Luzon, Philippines.
Indeed, since early 2007, many farms seem to have been affected by a similar disease which results in severe outbreaks of high fever and abortions. Up to now, the definitive identification of the causative agent of the outbreak has not been accomplished, he noted. Evidence of infections with several pathogens, both viral (PRRSV and SIV) and bacterial has been reported, however, the primary cause still has to be identified.
Mathieu Cortyl (Impextraco Singapore) presented the economic impacts of mycotoxins in swine farms, and focused on the interaction between mycotoxins and immunity.
The Asian tour also stopped in Thailand, with meetings in Nakornratsrima province and in the Nakornpratom province. Here, Dr Dachrit Nilubol from Chulalongkorn University (Bangkok) described a recent outbreak that affected many farms in Thailand. At the time of the meeting, it was estimated that 300,000 to 500,000 pigs died over the last months. The cause seems to be a quite virulent form of TGE (Transmissible Gastro Enteritis).
Speaking at the meeting held in Nakornpratom province, Dr Prariwat Poonperm from Kasetsart University (Bangkok) reviewed the PMWS situation in Thailand. He had a practical approach to explain how it affects the farms, and also presented some possible solutions.
â€¢ French Agency for Food Safety (AFFSA, in French)