A HIGHLY contagious swine flu strain dubbed the “pig plague” is sweeping across Europe and experts fear it could hit British shores and decimate our stock
The virus – which has no cure – is moving rapidly and could ruin the UK’s £350million pork export industry and push up the price of meat, campaigners have warned.
The African strain of swine flu (ASF) has now reached the EU, Express.co.uk can reveal, and industry lobbyists claim it would lead to animal culling on the scale of the 2001 foot and mouth crisis, which led to scores of UK farmers being financially ruined.
Just a thimbleful of ASF infected pig manure could spread the illness to the entire UK pig population, according to the National Farmers Union, and it has been likened to ebola in humans.
Richard Longthorp, chairman of the National Pig Association, warned with the EU’s open borders it could now spread more quickly.
He is calling for assurances from the Government that all is being done to prevent any infected pig carcasses, or pork, entering the country and for monitoring of feral pigs here so the spread could be limited should it arrive.
The current strain started in Georgia and is now known to be in Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. There are fears it could spread to the UK as wild boar from eastern Europe is sold at markets across the country.
It is passed by close contact, sometimes ticks, and sharing food. Symptoms which come five to 15 days after infection include internal bleeding, lethargy, loss of appetite and red patches on the skin. Nearly all pigs die within a week of signs appearing.
Full article: EXCLUSIVE: Fears ‘pig plague’ from EU could DECIMATE Britain’s pork industry (Express)