Australia Determined Free of PMWS

Australian agricultural authorities investigating two suspected cases of Post weaning Multisystemic Wasting Syndrome (PMWS) in South Australia and New South Wales (NSW) have determined that neither farm is positive for PMWS.

Although Porcine Circovirus Type 2 (PCV2), the virus most often associated with the development of PMWS, is known to exist in pig herds in Australia, pork producers there have never reported a case of the clinical disease. The NSW case was resolved fairly quickly and proved to be negative. The case in South Australia, however, has been under investigation since July.

The Consultative Committee on Emergency Animal Diseases (CCEAD) met on October 28th to consider the ongoing disease investigations on the South Australian property. The CCEAD concluded PMWS does not exist in the pig herd. A diagnosis of PMWS requires both a finding of histologic changes and the presence of clinical signs consistent with PMWS. Investigators determined that the clinical signs observed at the South Australia farm did not meet the case definition of PMWS, stating that "there was no evidence of wasting in growing pigs. After changing the management practices at the piggery and controlling the bacterial infections with antibiotics, mortality rates quickly dropped to very low levels." Australia's deputy chief veterinary officer Bob Biddle attributes the mortalities on the farm to "a range of endemic diseases, triggered by altered management practices."

In a related story, Australian Pork Limited (APL), which represents Australia's pork producers, continues its legal battle with Australia's quarantine authorities to limit pork imports. APL argues that the government ignored the risk of introducing PMWS by allowing the importation of pork from PMWS-positive countries. APL initially won its case in Federal Court when the judge agreed that there were major problems with the government's import risk analysis. The ruling was later overturned and APL has appealed to the Australian High Court. This latest appeal will be heard on November 18th.

Sources:

The Sydney Morning Herald: http://www.smh.com.au/news/Business/Australia-free-of-incurable-pig-disease/2005/11/11/1131578199274.html

The Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry: http://www.affa.gov.au/index.cfm