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Biosecurity practises for pig farming across Europe (EJP BIOPIGEE)

01/2020-06/2022

Funding programme / funding institution: Europäische Union

Grant number: 773830

Project homepage: https://onehealthejp.eu/groups/biopigee/

Project description:

Objectives

We will provide advice to farmers, veterinarians, authorities and the wider pig industry on the best practice with regards to biosecurity measures, with the help of a series of workshops, website-content, reports, supporting material for farming schools, and a decision support tool (WP6). The guidance will concentrate on the effectiveness of biosecurity measures against Salmonella and HEV, but will also provide relevant information and discussion on their appropriateness for other pathogens of public health and pig health importance. BIOPIGEE will concentrate on farm-specific measures but will also include factors related to slaughterhouse and pig transport.

Biosecurity protocols with the focus on Salmonella and HEV occurrence in pig production and at abattoir will be developed and applied in partner countries. The included biosecurity measures will be evaluated with the help of also investigated prevalence of Salmonella and HEV. Thanks to the strong collection of consortium members, further studies will be arranged to investigate effectiveness of biosecurity measures.

The biological effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of biosecurity measures will be determined through case-control and specific field studies involving the partner countries (WP2) and by the interpretation of outputs of a Quantitative microbial risk assessment, as well as economic effectiveness models (WP4).

Knowledge of effectiveness and costs of biosecurity measures will be collected from all WPs, alongside with research findings gathered from other studies and supplemented with information from machine learning, in a catalogue of biosecurity measures. Based on effective measures and the assessment of an expert panel, a benchmark of biosecurity practice relevant for reduction of Salmonella and HEV in pig production will be developed.

In the workshop series we will apply a farm-to-fork approach, connecting stakeholders along the food chain; from farmers to consumers (WP6).

The project will build on ongoing EU-wide activities by incorporating a selection of strong partners involved in the lates relevant activities and with mutual agreement to cooperate with HEV-net and the developer of BIOCHECK, Jeroen Dewulf.

Content

Salmonella and hepatitis E virus (HEV) are zoonotic pathogens which are in general subclinical in pigs. Transferred via the food chain, salmonellosis can cause gastrointestinal diseases in humans. There were over 90 thousand confirmed cases of salmonellosis and 156 related deaths in the EU in 2017. HEV infections can be causing an acute self-limiting (mortality 1%) disease. Chronic infections have been observed in immunocompromised individuals. Over the last 10 years in Europe, the number of cases has significantly increasedl. Biosecurity protocols are highly important tools to reduce the load of such pathogens along the food chain, leading to safe and healthy animal-derived food.

We built a dense network of European research organisations including public health from all European regions, joining expertise in veterinary epidemiology, microbiology, veterinary and human medicine, agronomy, econometrics, bacteriology. The proposed project concentrates on the pathogens Salmonella and HEV.

First in WP2, a biosecurity protocol for the primary production will be developed. Applying this protocol, herds in the project partners’ countries identified as being at high or low pathogen risk will be assessed for their biosecurity to find best practice at different production stages. Additionally, field and intervention studies will be completed in areas where current evidence is weak, e.g. effectiveness of management controls on HEV prevalence. Furthermore, a protocol for slaughterhouse biosecurity will be developed and applied in partner countries. The persistence of Salmonella, HEV and other pathogens in reservoirs (biofilms) will be evaluated in depth together with studies of disinfection effectiveness (WP3).

The consortium partners’ disease transmission models (stochastic, network trade, quantitative microbial risk assessment) will be improved by newly gained empirical data. Scenarios on country-specific biosecurity measures and on the measures’ impact on human infection rate will be run. Results will be used to assess the economic profitability of the implementation of standard and specific intervention measures along the pig supply chain and to assess projected future pork-product derived human salmonellosis cases (WP4).

A catalogue of biosecurity measures will be continuously filled with the findings on the measures' effectiveness and costs for Salmonella and HEV in WP2-5. A benchmark of biosecurity practice (measures, categories and overall) will be developed which considers different production stages as well as European regions (WP5). Finally, dissemination activities (WP6) include comprehensive education material for e.g. farming schools and online-use, a support tool to calculate cost effective measures and a workshop series that will connect researchers and stakeholders and help to exchange knowledge and experience all along the chain "from farm to fork", with special focus on primary production.

Project partners:

  • NATIONAL VETERINARY INSTIUTE, SVA,SE
  • NORWEGIAN VETERINARY INSTITUTE, NVI, NO
  • VETERINARY AND FOOD LABORATORY, VFL, EE
  • ROBERT KOCH INSTITUT, RKI, DE
  • ANIMAL AND PLANT HEALTH AGENCY, APHA, UK
  • WAGENINGEN BIOVETERINARY RESEARCH, WBVR, NL
  • NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR PUBLIC HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT, RIVM, NL
  • FRENCH AGENCY FOR FOOD, ENVIRONMENTAL AND OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY, ANSES, FR
  • ÖSTERREICHISCHE AGENTUR FüR GESUNDHEIT UND ERNäHRUNGSSICHERHEIT, AGES, AT
  • NATIONAL VETERINARY RESEARCH INSTITUTE, PIWET, PL
  • VETERINARY RESEARCH INSTITUTE, VRI, CZ
  • NATIONAL DIAGNOSTIC AND RESEARCH VETERINARY INSTITUTE, NDRVI, BG
  • ISTITUTO SUPERIORE DI SANITà, ISS, IT
  • ISTITUTO ZOOPROFILATTICO SPERIMENTALE DELL'ABRUZZO E DEL MOLISE "G. CAPORALE", IZSAM, IT
  • VETERINARY PUBLIC HEALTH INSTITUTE OF LOMBARDY AND EMILIA ROMAGNA, IZSLER, IT

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