Guidance

Swine vesicular disease: how to spot and report it

How to spot swine vesicular disease, what to do if you suspect it and measures to prevent its spread.

Swine vesicular disease affects pigs.

It doesn’t affect humans, although there have been some isolated cases of accidental infection of laboratory personnel working with the virus.

The last outbreak in Great Britain was in 1982.

Swine vesicular disease is a notifiable disease. That means if you suspect it you must tell the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) immediately. Failure to do so is an offence.

How to spot swine vesicular disease

The clinical signs of swine vesicular disease can be confused with foot and mouth disease, so it’s essential you report any suspicion of swine vesicular disease in your pigs.

The main sign of the disease is blisters (vesicles). These appear:

  • at the top of the hooves
  • between the toes
  • occasionally on the snout, tongue and lips

Other clinical signs include:

  • lameness due to foot blisters
  • loss of appetite
  • fever

Some infected pigs may not show any signs of the disease.

How swine vesicular disease is spread

The disease can be spread by:

  • contact with infected pigs or their faeces or body fluids
  • pigs eating infectious meat or meat products
  • contact with anything contaminated with the virus including:
    • people and their clothing
    • vehicles and equipment

Preventing and controlling swine vesicular disease

You can help prevent disease by practising strict biosecurity on your premises.

If you report suspicion of swine vesicular disease APHA vets will investigate.

If swine vesicular disease is confirmed the outbreak will be controlled in line with the contingency plan for exotic notifiable diseases.

Further information on prevention and control

Controls to prevent disease

What happens when a notifiable disease is suspected or confirmed

Legislation relating to swine vesicular disease

The Diseases of Swine Regulations 2014 implement EU Council Directive 92/119.