Classical Swine Fever (CSF)
Classical Swine Fever (CSF) is a highly contagious viral disease, caused by an RNA-type of Pestivirus. CSF was eradicated from Britain in 1966, with occasional outbreaks being contained and eradicated. The last outbreak occurred in the country during 2000 (87).
Although the EU is officially clear of CSF, outbreaks have occurred in many countries elsewhere. When CSF first enters a herd, it can spread very rapidly. It is primarily spread by both direct and indirect (e.g. vehicles, equipment, bedding, feed, waste, humans) contact with infected pigs.
CSF can survive in meat and pig products for many months. In frozen pork products, at least four years and, in pickled or smoked meat, for three to six months.
Within an infected herd, a high proportion of pigs may become ill with a high fever, and many of them die. The clinical signs of CSF are similar to African Swine Fever. CSF makes animals feverish, dull, feel exhausted and exhibit a lack of appetite. This is followed by conjunctivitis, which causes the eyes to stick together, constipation, then diarrhoea and vomiting. The skin may redden and there may be widespread haemorrhaging. Pigs convulse early in the disease, and this is followed by a lack of coordination and circling. The animals die in nine to 19 days in acute cases, and 30 to 95 days in chronic cases. It is a disease that causes a lot of suffering for pigs, yet again this is rarely mentioned in media reports.
CSF is transmitted by pigs eating contaminated feed, litter, or through broken skin. The virus exists in faeces and urine. In factory farms, animals are forced to lie in both.
CSF is controlled by a kill-all policy. Pigs in contact with the diseased animals are slaughtered and buried or burned. They are killed, rather than treated, for economic reasons (CSF does not infect people), so that Britain can continue to export pigs and pig meat. As usual, the tax payer compensates the farmers. In the 2000 outbreak, farmers received 50 per cent of the market value for infected animals, and 100 per cent for uninfected animals (88).