Comparison of respiratory disease prevalence among voluntary monitoring systems for pig health and welfare in the UK

JI Eze, C Correia-Gomes, J Borobia-Belsue, AW Tucker, D Sparrow, DW Strachan, GJ Gunn

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Surveillance of animal diseases provides information essential for the protection of animal health and ultimately public health. The voluntary pig health schemes, implemented in the United Kingdom, are integrated systems which capture information on different macroscopic disease conditions detected in slaughtered pigs. Many of these conditions have been associated with a reduction in performance traits and consequent increases in production costs. The schemes are the Wholesome Pigs Scotland in Scotland, the BPEX Pig Health Scheme in England and Wales and the Pig Regen Ltd. health and welfare checks done in Northern Ireland. This report set out to compare the prevalence of four respiratory conditions (enzootic pneumonia-like lesions, pleurisy, pleuropneumonia lesions and abscesses in the lung) assessed by these three Pig Health Schemes. The seasonal variations and year trends associated with the conditions in each scheme are presented. The paper also highlights the differences in prevalence for each condition across these schemes and areas where further research is needed. A general increase in the prevalence of enzootic pneumonia like lesions was observed in Scotland, England and Wales since 2009, while a general decrease was observed in Northern Ireland over the years of the scheme. Pleurisy prevalence has increased since 2010 in all three schemes, whilst pleuropneumonia has been decreasing. Prevalence of abscesses in the lung has decreased in England, Wales and Northern Ireland but has increased in Scotland. This analysis highlights the value of surveillance schemes based on abattoir pathology monitoring of four respiratory lesions. The outputs at scheme level have significant value as indicators of endemic and emerging disease, and for producers and herd veterinarians in planning and evaluating herd health control programs when comparing individual farm results with national averages.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0128137
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
Publication statusFirst published - 2015

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