Failures in achieving effective biosecurity at the farm and regional levels have been at the heart of many recent problems with transboundary diseases affecting pigs, a symposium in Spain was told.

The remarks were made to the opening session of the 6th International Symposium on Emerging and Re-emerging Pig Diseases, being held in Barcelona, Spain. The symposium is hosted by Spain’s Centre de Recerca en Sanitat Animal and IRTA agro-food research institute with the University of Barcelona.

Giving an Asian perspective, Dr. Roongroje Thanawongnuwech, of Chulalongkorn University in Thailand, said that many emerging pig diseases have become endemic in Southeast Asian countries over the past two decades, mainly due to the combination of unrestricted animal movements and poor biosecurity. The globalization of markets also means that any pig disease emerging today is unlikely to stay within the boundaries of the country it was first observed in. He said that the pig disease most probably would spread to other countries, which could occur relatively quickly.

Rigorous biosecurity could be the ultimate weapon against various disease agents now afflicting Asian countries, Dr Roongroje added, from the highly pathogenic form of the PRRS syndrome to the newly damaging outbreaks of porcine epidemic diarrhoea.