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Disease surveillance in England and Wales, July 2019

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APHA disease Surveillance report headlines

  • Illegal imports and the risk of African swine fever

  • Nutritional myopathy in suckler calves

  • Tetracycline resistance in Mannheimia haemolytica isolated from lambs with pneumonia

  • Clostridial myositis and cellulitis in pigs

  • Leg abnormalities in pheasants

Disease and threats summary

African swine fever virus and imported pork products

There are ongoing concerns around pork products from non-EU countries entering the EU in passenger luggage and then being discarded in areas where wild boar or domestic pigs are present.

With regular direct flights to the EU, including the UK, from China and eastern Asia, there is a risk of entry of African swine fever (ASF) virus in products of animal origin from Asia. Numerous media accounts in 2019 have reported the movement of illegal pork products and ASF-infected pork products from China.

In June 2019, as part of routine activities, port authorities in Northern Ireland seized a total of 300 kg of meat and dairy products illegally carried by passengers during the month. A sample of one of these seizures, a sausage originating from Asia, was tested at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, resulting in the detection of ASF virus DNA fragments.

Although the presence of ASF DNA does not necessarily mean that the meat was infectious, it underlines the potential risk to the UK from pork and pork products being brought illegally into the country. The UK has not confirmed an outbreak of ASF, and there has never been an outbreak of ASF in the UK. The finding in Northern Ireland does not affect the UK’s ASF disease-free status.

About this report

This report is produced each month by the APHA Surveillance Intelligence Unit and the six Species Expert Groups (livestock and wildlife). The international horizon-scanning summaries are produced by the Defra/APHA International Disease Monitoring (IDM) team, notifiable disease reports by the APHA Veterinary Exotic and Notifiable Disease Unit (VENDU), and threat analysis by the cross-agency Veterinary …

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