BIOPIGEE: Biosecurity practices for pig farming across Europe
The Project #BIOPIGEE
Salmonella and Hepatitis E virus (HEV) are zoonotic pathogens which are in general subclinical in pigs. Salmonellosis can cause gastrointestinal diseases in humans with over 90 thousand confirmed cases and 156 deaths in the EU in 2017. HEV infections in humans can be fatal; it is considered an emerging problem in the EU. 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. This project concentrates on the pathogens Salmonella and HEV.
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.
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.
A catalogue of biosecurity measures will be continuously filled with the findings on the measures’ effectiveness and costs for Salmonella and HEV . A benchmarking of biosecurity practice (measures, categories and overall) will be developed which considers different production stages as well as European regions.Finally, dissemination activities 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.