Saturday, 19 April 2014

Germany - Hepatitis E risks to handlers from pigs

A new study in Germany points out the dangers arising from direct contact with pigs; in this case, Hepatitis E.

We have been warning of this particular risk for years.  You can reach many articles by searching for "Hepatitis" in the search box above

It was not difficult. All we had to do was plot human cases, when known, with a map. In Britain, the giveaway was the location of the National Health Service Authorities investigating HEV or Hepatitis E in humans. They were in the pig farming areas of England.

Also, the biggest single attraction on this blog are the articles dealing with HEV and pigs. They have been heavily accessed for years, especially, but far from exclusively, from Central and Eastern Europe.

Yet another livestock zoonosis, a disease shared by humans and animals and killing humans, is neglected in Britain. Veterinarians and pig farmers, and their contacts, are clearly at serious risk.

The new report can be reached via the Springer site here.

April 2014

Seroprevalence of hepatitis E virus (HEV) in humans living in high pig density areas of Germany

Purchase on


...This study demonstrates that in addition to the consumption of raw or undercooked meat, direct contact to pigs has to be considered as an additional risk factor for HEV infection.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

MRSA st398 in Horses, Veterinarians and Pigs

Today, at Aintree, on Grand National Day, the world enjoys the spectacle of  jet setting racehorses showing their speed and agility. 

That the failures seem to have a less publicised future is another matter.

But it is another deteriorating situation with high rates of MRSA st398 in horses attributed to globe trotting horses, with the human spread, colonisation and infection, not least of veterinarians,

Even pigs get a mention, dare we say blame, but we don't see many racehorses associating with pigs!

We have to look to an intermediate vector, such as colonised veterinarians.

The note at the foot of the report, here, illustrates the growing interest of Lloyds.

Rise of MRSA strain in European horses described

By Neil Clarkson on Apr 05, 2014 in Focus, Health

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

American pig genetics banned from the UK and Europe

Last week, almost unnoticed, probably because nobody wanted to make too much of it, there was a massive development in animal health worldwide:

One of North America's most important pig genetics companies put a temporary stop on all live exports, presumably including semen and embryos, from North America to Europe, including Britain.

Lack of tests meant they could not guarantee that their exports would be PEDv (porcine epidemic diarrhea virus) clean and they, very sensibly, decided to take a cautious and precautionary approach.

The new North American strain of PEDv is devastating pig herds in the USA and Canada.

It is hard to argue with their common sense and prudence. That they behave well, very quietly, is a reflection on the aura of secrecy and coercion common in the pig genetics industry.

However, it is not a statuary ban, merely the act of one single company, giving a temporary advantage to their competitors, who presumably continue to trade freely and risk introducing a serious disease to Europe or indeed to North America and elsewhere.

We live in a veterinary world where the most reckless dangerous veterinarians and their backers take the financial rewards.

Veterinarians are moving germplasm, that is live animals, semen and embryos, all over the place with recklessly issued health certification.

The world went a stage too far when they incorporated germplasm into free trade agreements. The assumption was that the international veterinary industry could control the risks and issue reliable
documentation. They said they could.

They could not.

They covered up the inadequacy of the controls by a barrage of grotesque fabrications and misleading public relations coupled with collusion with the veterinary civil service in the UK and elsewhere.

The co-infections from constant new virus importations require more and more antibiotics, with an ever rising antibiotic resistance taking its toll on the world's children, vulnerable and elderly.

So we continue the deception and now have to rely on voluntary bans.

Too little, too late, however well intentioned!

Voluntary bans may well work for PEDv - if the ban is widespread, obeyed and reliable - until the next mutated virus attacks across borders and moves from farm to farm, from species to species and
sometimes from animals to humans.

This is the scandal of the century.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

TB from cats and dogs to children

We have been waiting for the initial reports of TB passing from pets to children to die down before commenting.

The reports have been a little confused and contradictory, with the British tabloids, to their credit, touching on some of the contradictions. In a wide ranging crisis we will just pick on the items that seem to have insufficient coverage and comment.

First, there seem to have been delays in publishing and some shenanigans.

Government has known about bTB in British cats for fifteen years, but gave it little publicity. There are signs that an old report was dug out of the archives and republished!

There was a feline outbreak in Berkshire dating back a year. The case of latent TB in the child, probably from a dog, was known about in November, but only published in late March.

Secondly, all the human cases had links to veterinary practices.

The cats seem to have acquired their TB when being treated. Commendably, the practice has said as much. The dog to child case is acknowledged to have a veterinary connection but no information is given.

Call for Reform

Now the writer has been emphasising the dangers to veterinarians and their families from zoonotic disease for years, not least the very serious Hepatitis E from British pigs. We did not expect domestic pets to emerge as a major risk.

In Britain, most small animal practice is dominated by young women, who are not going to be keen to take TB home to the young family.

They have the numbers, it is now up to them to use their votes to force veterinary reform from the top down by getting rid of their corrupt and dangerous establishment.

It is a veterinary crisis and we have not even talked about antibiotic resistant TB, badgers or cattle or the veterinary calls to slaughter all cats found to have TB, immediately.

This scandal has a long way to run.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Antibiotic Resistance - Slaughter Sick Animals?

A number of important developments in animal and human health are now under way in Britain. They may or may not be connected. We will deal with them in separate posts, in chronological order

In  yesterday's Daily Mail, Dame Sally Davies, professor and Chief Medical Officer for England, was reported as launching another attack on antibiotic use in animals.

Britain's veterinarians do not like that and their massive public relations machine is reacting.

Well they wouldn't like it, would they?

But the fact remains that their activities have posed a serious and realised risk to human health, in Britain and abroad, for many years.

Veterinary reform is both necessary and inevitable.

The relevant passage is below, the full report is here.

She also called for a cut in the use of antibiotics in farm animals, one of the biggest causes of resistance to the drugs.
Controversially, she urged vets to slaughter sick animals rather than give them antibiotics to help them recover.
She said: 'I had a bit of a problem with some vets recently because I said, "Why don't you just slaughter animals when they're badly infected?" It seems to me much better because then they can't transmit them [antibiotics].
'At the moment, if you eat a farmed salmon in America it has probably eaten its own weight in antibiotics.'

Similar reports are now being carried in a number of news outlets and veterinary reaction is reaching the agricultural news.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Norway tackles MRSA in pigs and pig people

Big news on The Pig Site this morning here.

New Survey of MRSA in Norwegian Pigs to Begin

21 March 2014
NORWAY - The Food Safety Authority is to begin another survey of the prevalence of MRSA in pigs herds across the country...

The original Norwegian Government source is here.

You can see that they also think measures have to be taken to protect anyone handling pigs: something that does not happen in Britain, apparently because Britain's veterinary establishment still claim Britain's pigs are clear of MRSA.

Mapping of MRSA resumes
 Published 03/19/2014 | Last modified 20/03/2014

FSA restarts survey of animal associated MRSA, or LA-MRSA in Norwegian pig herds. Sampling starts next week.

Fact about MRSA
" MRSA is Staphylococcus aureus that has developed resistance to multiple antibiotics. They are small MRSA in Norway
" Meat from animals with MRSA is not dangerous to eat
" An animal associated variant of MRSA, called LA-MRSA has been found in several herds that have had contact through the sale of piglets. LA-MRSA is not particularly pathogenic in pigs, but it can infect from pig to man and from man to pig
" MRSA can be transmitted from pigs to humans, but rarely give serious infections in healthy people
" It is important to prevent MRSA spread to health care institutions, as MRSA can affect people who are already ill or have weakened health. These can then be exposed to bacteria which can not be combatted with antibiotics
" The use of antibiotics to livestock in Norway is very low compared to other countries, and there is reason to believe that antibiotic resistance among Norwegian domestic animals is less than in other countries
" Health authorities are concerned that LA-MRSA among pigs will spread. If it happens it will be necessary to dictate in advance of hospitalization for all who are in regular contact with animals
" These individuals must be screened for MRSA before they can be processed. If they are infected must be implemented to prevent the spread within the hospital

After a week stop to discuss basic issues related to the progress and economy, it is now clear that the NFSA planned survey of LA-MRSA in Norwegian pig herds will be conducted in the same scope as planned, with sampling of the 1150 swine herds.

FSA has made an overall assessment of the case and has decided to conduct the survey now, and to assess the economic impact parallel. What measures, if any, should be taken will be decided later.

Mapping first - then measures

FSA plans to resume the survey next week.

- It is important to get the facts about the situation in Norwegian pig herds on the table, says Ole Fjetland, assistant director of supervision at the FSA.

- We do this best by allowing us to quickly collect and analyze samples from all herds.As we know, we can determine the future strategy for how to combat or control the occurrence of LA MRSA, and what measures will be relevant.

Important public health
For reasons of public health, it is important to reduce the incidence of MRSA in the community. The economic impact of possible control measures now being studied in parallel with the mapping.
The Authority has the ambition to keep the Norwegian swine industry free of such bacteria, and Karleggingen will provide FSA one good basis for assessing whether this is a realistic goal.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Hepatitis E in British pigs and human health,

The British authorities, including public health, have released a flood of information on zoonotic disease, based on pig slaughter tests.

The writer and others are wading through it now, starting with HEV from pigs in Britain, as it has been part of my signature for so long and and human risks an important subject on this blog for years. You can get the whole report here:

And the HEV part in full here. The figures speak for themselves, we will just give a taste of the recommendation:


...To mitigate dietary hazard to humans…but how?

o Identify source of non-travel G3 group1 AND G3 group 2 viruses
o Alter pattern of infections in pigs to reduce viraemia at slaughter
o Cook pork as recommended by DH

o Identify high risk patients to avoid HEV exposure
o Mitigate transfusion risk for humans
o Bear in mind vaccine and anti-viral drugs in humans