PIG PRODUCERS in the UK and Ireland now have access to a highly effective salmonella vaccine that has already been well-proven in Germany and Poland.

Salmoporc, a live, attenuated, vaccine from Ceva, is the only one of its kind licensed for pigs in the UK and Ireland. It is administered orally to piglets and through subcutaneous injection in sows, giving protection against Salmonella Typhimurium and its monophasic variants – which can have serious health implications for both pigs and humans.

Salmonella in UK and Irish herds is currently the highest in the EU, with a prevalence of 19.5% and 17.5% respectively. It is particularly difficult to control in outdoor herds since the bacteria can survive in soil for a year, even longer in dried dung and has been detected in fields two years after they are vacated by infected pigs.

“Salmonella is an increasing problem on pig farms and the bacteria are transmitted through breeding pyramids which eventually supply finishing pigs,” commented Ceva veterinarian, Dr Rike Schmelz. “Clinical cases of diarrhoea often occur after weaning and tend to be treated with antibiotics.

“The monophasic variant of S. Typhimurium is already multi-drug resistant and vaccinating pigs can help farmers to substantially reduce their use of expensive antibiotics,” she pointed out. “In addition, with the removal of zinc oxide at therapeutic levels from the feed in mid-2022, salmonella and other enteric diseases are likely to become more apparent.”

Independent trials at the University of Ghent in Belgium showed that, between three and 29 weeks, vaccinated piglets from three herds gained between 30g and 39g, significantly more per day than unvaccinated controls. Trials in Germany have shown that, with vaccination of sows and gilts at the top of the breeding pyramid, combined with a competent hygiene programme, it is possible to eliminate salmonella from the supply chain.