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Swine fever spreads in Japan; gov't warns of 'extremely serious' phase

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and where are the "Japan meat is best quality" better than other countries, critics now!?. how many livestock outbreaks is this now, ive lost count!?

8 ( +15 / -7 )

Sad for the meaningless loss of lives (pig's lives) and major loss for the piggeries and the consumers.

The frequency of the infestation and in wide spread areas indicate an odd trend for that industry.

With such "strict" and "stringent" government and industry controls and monitoring by all the piggeries, this current near epidemic proportion is extremely questionable as to the "origin" and mode and method of its spreading. It is not like bird flue. From what I was able to gather, it is spread by "contact" and not "air borne" or some indirect route.

If in the US, many would start to doubt and call for an investigation as to how wild boars got the virus to begin with and how wild boars came or could have come into contact with domesticated farm pigs. If this continues there can be a major economic impact domestically and internationally, forcing Japan to "import" more pork.

Already markets in Japan are looking at higher prices.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

maybe stop eating pork?

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Well what this epidemic really shows is that the country has a problem of hygiene.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

This passage from the text is a little concerning.

".... Although there is a vaccine to counter classic swine fever, using it could prevent Japan from regaining its World Organization for Animal Health status as a CSF free country, hindering Japan's plan to expand pork exports. The organization already suspended Japan's such status after the outbreak in September...."

So by using the vaccine to prevent the spread of the disease, it will alert the world that a pig health problem exists, thereby affecting our commercial businesses.

I can only read this as money first, safety, hygenic practices second.

Not a good way to consolidate & grow your international export business - I would have thought.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Year of the Pig, just say"n...

9 ( +10 / -1 )

@sf2k

maybe stop eating pork?

Oh don't say that, next it will be ; " Let the people eat Whale, sausages, its a tradition ! "

2 ( +4 / -2 )

and where are the "Japan meat is best quality" better than other countries, critics now!?. how many livestock outbreaks is this now, ive lost count!?

Are you saying Japan has relatively more livestock diseases than other developed countries? Then present the facts and figures. Otherwise it's just your own bias speaking.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

maybe stop eating pork?

Maybe not

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Are you saying Japan has relatively more livestock diseases than other developed countries? Then present the facts and figures. Otherwise it's just your own bias speaking.

That doesn't appear to be what he is saying, so I suggest you withdraw the strawman. This is about doubting the proponents of the view that Japan is always better than other countries.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Ah_so... I am sure he can answer for himself, and I disagree with your interpretation of his comment. In fact, how on earth did you glean "Japan is always better than other countries" from "Japan meat is best quality?"

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

If it doesn't affect humans, who cares? Kill the pigs and let's eat them!

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

” The disease does not affect humans” lies, prominent Indian politician George Fernandes died recently having contracted swine flue.

If you want to eradicate swine flue the only way is culling, vaccine allows it to remain in the pig population, however if the disease has spread to wild boar populations it will keep reappearing unless you wipe out the wild boar population (probably controversial so let’s fudge that issue and pretend all is well). Measures to keep them apart are never 100% effective as has been found elsewhere.

If they are not even sure what the disease vectors are then they have zero chance of controlling it.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

and where are the "Japan meat is best quality" better than other countries, critics now!?. how many livestock outbreaks is this now, ive lost count!?

This has nothing to do with meat quality, which is processed from healthy livestock.  Diseased livestock cannot become meat because it is eliminated for human safety.  There is no meat to compare here!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

This is why the price of pork is so high at present. This and the subsidies from the government.

Please stop with all the crap about hygiene. It has very little to do with it. Just be thankful this swine flu cannot be transmitted to humans.

These outbreaks of bird and and swine flu seem to be a regular thing in Japan. It would not be such a stretch if the imagination to think they are not a natural event and are part of some kind of industrial espionage from competing farmers. This is Japan after all where just about anything is possible.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Eating mammals damages the environment on many levels, it is best avoided.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

When animals such as pigs, being so intelligent are kept in cramped and stark conditions, is it any wonder that they suffer such maladies?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

The frequency of the infestation and in wide spread areas indicate an odd trend for that industry.

But this is the first case of swine fever in Japan since 1992.

Frequency? An odd trend?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Eating mammals damages the environment on many levels, it is best avoided.

The first swine fever case in Japan since 1992 causes you to make such a dramatic suggestion?

Please. Eating mammals does not damage the environment. Human beings have been eating meat ever since there have been human beings. The earth and the environment are still here.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Are you saying Japan has relatively more livestock diseases than other developed countries? Then present the facts and figures. 

oh ok lets see in the last 20yrs Japan has numerous outbreaks of pigflu, madcow, foot in mouth, birdflue, then when you look at countries like AUstralia , NZ who have some of the strictest quarantine practices in the world they've had almost zero outbreaks in the last 50yrs. and when you look at Australia for example when theyve had an outbreak it has been quickly contained and eradicated. seems Japan could take some lessons on livestock handling from these two countries. then I wont even get into Japanese food mislabeling scandals

see quality isnt only in the taste. thank god for TPP

1 ( +7 / -6 )

This has nothing to do with meat quality, which is processed from healthy livestock.

oh you mean like the chicken farmer and his wife a few years back , when their birds started dying of birdflue and they tried to sell off their stock , when they got caught the comit suicide. livestock health and quality most definitely go hand in hand.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Re;Swine Fever

@jenishiebel

 Eating mammals does not damage the environment. Human beings have been eating meat ever since there have been human beings. The earth and the environment are still here.

Extraordinarily wrong statement, pastoralists have prevented reforestation, and are currently clearing Amazon for more beef grazing, it is lack of tree cover that has contributed to flooding and other weather pattern changes.

This pig issue is about battery farming, it also causes issues in poultry where animal densities are even higher, humanity's greed for meat, animal products, like eggs and milk, not to mention fish and Whales is insatiable, because we are measured in the billions, even your little island has 120000000

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

A typical pig factory generates the same amount of raw waste as a city of 12,000 people. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, raising animals for food is the number-one source of water pollution.

The Union of Concerned Scientists lists meat-eating as the second-biggest environmental hazard facing the Earth. (Number one is fossil-fuel vehicles.) Globally, animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gases than all the world’s transportation systems combined.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Human beings have been eating meat ever since there have been human beings. The earth and the environment are still here.

I eat meat, but I am afraid this proves nothing. Humans have been doing a lot of things since forever, but we have never had a population like we have today. Former practices are simply unsustainable with the current population. Some changes in behavior and improvements in tech are needed. But more importantly, the population needs to shrink. Unfortunate that few people are even willing to mention the most important half of that equation.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Thank you for correcting the title from Swine Flu to Swine Fever as they are two different diseases.

Swine fever (Swine /Pig Cholera) is caused by the Classical Swine Fever Virus (CSFV) and affects primarily pigs, wild boar, warthogs etc. There is evidence of it in other wild species - eg deer, but appears to have no obvious symptoms. If Pigs contract Swine Fever the mortality rate is 100%, so if left unattended will eventually kill all.

At the moment the data indicates it is NOT Zoonotic (contractable by humans), but it could only be a matter of time before such transmissions appear. The afore mentioned Swine flu, Spanish flu, HIV, Ebola, Rabies etc all are Zoonotic in origin.

This little extract from surgeon-live.com poses an interesting perspective.

"...Due to the similarity of the physiology of pigs with ours, and the frequent variability of the virus(CSFV), i.e. mutations, there is a good chance that the virus will acquire properties that are dangerous for humans. However, some scientists say that there is no need to wait for the future, the virus should beware now.

There have been cases of detection in humans of antibodies to this virus, which means that the body reacts to it as a dangerous agent. There is also evidence that the virus may be the cause of tropical fever. In almost half of the cases of this disease, the causative agent cannot be identified, however, by in-depth analysis, scientists were able to detect in sick people viral DNA with a high similarity to the DNA of the African swine fever virus.

But it is not yet possible to reveal direct evidence, since at the moment there are no tests on the definition of a virus in humans. And it's not just that. Most likely, according to some studies, if a virus harms a person, the effects are delayed, and it is not possible to link the cause and effect either...."

So those believing humans are somehow "automatically"safe from this viral disease, should seriously consider other opinions.

With current animal husbandry practices, esp those of factory farming, I'd say - without being alarmist - be prepared for anything, because nothing is certain in the world of pathogens.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The afore mentioned Swine flu, Spanish flu, HIV, Ebola, Rabies etc all are Zoonotic in origin.

Everything is possible, but the real probability of a species jump is not really high, literally millions of virus infect animals and only few actually make humans sick.

The quoted text also is very misleading. Frequent mutations do not mean there is a "good" chance for the virus to become dangerous to humans, for infections that affect farm animals this chance is much lower than for virus that are present mostly in the wild, the reason is that the pathogens are not new and if it was actually easy for the necessary mutations to appear naturally we would already have human sustained epidemics. The very fact we don't means that something makes this jump very difficult.

Another misleading point is that antibodies means the body reacts to the virus as a dangerous agent, that is obviously the function of the immune system, but that has no relationship whatsoever with the probability of the virus being actually dangerous. As long as there is contact with something that is recognized as non-self the body will react as if dangerous, even if its completely benign (making things like vaccines work).

Finally, linking CSFV with the ASFV and interpolating that a possible human infection by the second means it could also be possible for the first is nonsense, the viruses could not be more different, their abilities to adapt to new hosts, their probability to become pathogenic (which is not the same thing) and the difficulty to be controlled by simple vaccines are not related at all.

In simple terms, worrying now about CSFV producing human disease is not rational, its much more likely that a completely unknown virus circulating in bats (or any other animal not in close contact with humans) is the one that will cause the new SARS or MERS epidemic. And in the very unlikely case CSFV makes the jump and it becomes actually dangerous we already have vaccines that have proven safe and efficient in animals, which makes the adaptation to humans a much simpler process that can be done in comparatively very short time.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

virusex - thanks for your response.

I think you're misreading the intent of my post.

It was only to alert people who earlier suggested that CSFV infected animals / meat are safe.

Regardless of the minor chance of it occurring, transmissions have occured over the centuries and I simply mentioned that - together with some doctors opinion (quote).

I guess if you're a specialist in this field then you would have an authorative opinion, much like the doctors quoted. So that's ok.

And I don't believe for a moment that science (and I'm a science faithful), has all boxes ticked for the Perfect Storm. It will come - this generation, the next, the next century, 300 years....?

History has taught us - we just don't know. No need for panic, fear and chaos, but never say never.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

That is my point, the animals/meat are for all practical purposes equally safe with or without CSFV infection.

Nobody says that science knows it all to perfection or that species jump is impossible, what I want to point out is that a virus that usually infects a host that is in close contact with humans is much less likely to do it than any other virus that we know nothing about. If a new zoonosis appear its simply irrational to fear the virus that you know is "safe" instead of the uncountable ones that you know nothing about, those other viruses are the ones that will cause the "perfect storm" and we should worry about.

My problem with the text you quoted is that its a collection of arguments that are not relevant to the topic, they seem logical but they aren't . Sure, there is no problem with not knowing everything and listening to them (again, they look fine superficially), but there is no problem either with knowing that actually those are not relevant issues in this case and saying it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

virusx - thanks again.

I'm a relative novice in this field, but I find it fascinating.

I take your comments seriously as obviously you know this topic.

And I agree - perhaps the greatest challenge facing us is the unknown - wild animal pathogens.

In my limited knowledge though, I thought the Avian flu H5N1 virus crossed into humans from domesticated chickens. Also it's not absolutely clear, but Spanish flu moved to humans either directly from birds (esp domesticated hens) or via a vector such as swine (also domesticated). And HIV's jump to humans was probably via chimpanzee contact. While not domesticated, the hunter / eater societies that contracted the original virus had very frequent contact with the primates.

And as you stated the difference in pathogens is enormous and the probability of human viral infection differs greatly from domesticated to wild animals.

However, within all of this, rightfully or wrongfully, I believe the modern factory farming practices of keeping 1,000s upon 1,000s of animals in unnatural extremely confined spaces, and being fed many chemical cocktails has an increased probability of allowing the unforseen to happen.

I'd need some striking scientific evidence to persuade me otherwise. The recent H5N1 scare was just a tip-toe.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Stay safe.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"The disease does not affect humans even if meat from an infected animal is consumed, but it is fatal to pigs and boars."

It shows fatal sickness later down the road...you ignorant wanna be!  I can't believe these "in the name of profit and don' t really care what happens to you"  bureaucrats will thrust such statement to the public.  Glad though they acknowledge the insalubrious situation we all face.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@browny1

 I believe the modern factory farming practices of keeping 1,000s upon 1,000s of animals in unnatural extremely confined spaces,

I agree so is keeping them in a flood prone valley, we've just killed 300,000 cows in Queensland !

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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