Pigs are found and raised all over the world and provide valuable products to humans, which include pork, lard, leather, glue, fertilizers, medicines, etc.
Besides providing products of immeasurable worth, pigs can also transmit diseases to humans and contrariwise is also true, known as Zoonotic diseases.
What is Zoonotic Disease?
A Zoonotic disease is one that can spread between animals and humans. Many people interact with animals in their daily lives, both at home and away from home. Animal provides food, fiber, livelihood, travel, sports, companionship and education for the people across the globe. However, animals can sometimes carry harmful germs that can spread to people and cause illness, these are known as “Zoonotic diseases “or “Zoonosis”.
Zoonotic diseases are caused by harmful germs like viruses, bacteria, parasites and fungi, leads to different type of illnesses in people and animals, ranging from mild to serious illness and even death. Animals can sometimes appear healthy even when they are carrying germs that can make people sick.
How do diseases spread?
Infections disease can be transmitted by following ways:
- By air
- By direct or indirect contact (with another person or animals, skin or mucous membranes, saliva, urine, blood & body secretions)
- By contaminated food and water
Important Zoonotic Diseases Transmitted by Pigs
- Gastrointestinal infections
- Hepatitis E
- Causative agent: Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae
- Clinic signs in swine: fever, anorexia, red diamond shaped patches.
- Clinic signs in humans: Erysipeloids – painful, red purple swelling on the hands.
- Lesions are usually confined to the hands and fingers. Severe cases can progress to systemic infection with endocarditis.
- Route of transmission: Direct contact (usually through cuts in skin)
- Cause of disease: Salmonella spp., E. coli, Campylobacter spp. Yersinia enterocolitica, Cryptosporidium parvum, Giardia intestinalis, Balantidium coli
- Clinical signs in swine: diarrhea
- Clinical signs in humans: nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea
- Route of transmission fecal contamination
- Cause of disease: Hepatitis E virus
- Clinical signs in swine: none
- Clinical signs in humans: mild fever, anorexia, nausea and vomiting, lasting for a few days. Abdominal pain, itching, jaundice, with dark urine and pale stools and slightly enlarged, tender liver
- Route of transmission: fecal contamination
- Cause of disease: Influenza A virus
- Clinical signs in swine: fever, depression, cough, discharge from nose or eyes, sneezing, difficult breathing, anorexia
- Clinical signs in humans: fever, lethargy, lack of appetite, cough, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
- Route of transmission: direct, aerosol, fomites
- Cause of disease : Dermatophyte fungi
- Clinical signs in swine: crusty, dark, hairless patches, common on the skin around the head and neck, thorax, flank, behind the ears, on the legs
- Clinical signs in humans: local itching, reddish skin, and hairlessness at the point of contact
- Route of transmission: Direct and fomites
- Cause of disease: Leptospira spp – a spirochaete bacteria.
- Clinical signs in swine: body weight loss, anorexia, abortion, still births, fever, diarrhea and generalized neurological signs
- Clinical signs in humans: fever, chills, headache, muscle pain, vomiting, liver and kidney failure
- Route of transmission: Direct, aerosol, fomites, urine spread
- Cause of disease: Streptococcus suis
- Clinical signs in swine: depression, tremors, incoordination, blindness, paralysis, convulsions and paddling of legs
- Clinical signs in humans: meningitis, sepsis, endocarditis, arthritis, hearing loss and skin lesions
- Route of transmission: direct contact
To reduce pathogen exposure following basic hygiene and sanitation practices should be practiced:
- Prompt treatment or disposal of infected pigs
- Adequate disposal of infected tissues
- Proper cleaning of contaminated sites
- Proper use of personal protective equipment like masks, gloves, apron etc.
- Health education
- Personal hygiene
- Protective clothing
- Regular testing
- Reducing the contact potential
Biosecurity is the protection of livestock from any type of infectious agents – bacterial, viral, fungal or parasitic. Hygienic practices should be followed in pig farm as biosecurity measures to prevent transmission of disease:
- Hygienic feed and water
- Limit visitors in the barn
- Limit the access of rodents and other wildlife animal in the barn
- Do not allow any ill person to enter the barn
- Quarantine pigs arriving at the farm for 14 days
- Clean and disinfect all the equipment between uses
- Give proper interval between two successive crops
Dr. Anmol Yadav
ANDUAT, Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, India
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