A2: Pigs culled in Shiga after swine fever outbreak

NHK World, 2/07/2019
https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190207_16/

Summary:  Roughly 700 pigs have been culled at a farm in Omihachiman, Shiga Prefecture (滋賀, middle left on map) after an outbreak of  Pestivirus CSFV, a Group IV virus responsible for classical swine fever. While this pathogen is highly contagious among domestic and wild swine and known to cause symptoms including fever, skin hemorrhaging, convulsions, and death [1], humans are not susceptible. The carriers were among a total of 60 pigs shipped from Aichi Prefecture (愛知, center bottom) to four other prefectures on January 31st. The first case of CSF in Japan in 27 years was discovered September 2018 in Gifu Prefecture (岐阜, center top), spreading from there.

Connection:

While we have not yet covered viruses or communicability in class, the precautions we take in lab to avoid communication of our unidentified strains is likely an afterthought on commercial farms. It’s no wonder that crafty and deadly pathogens could have such a devastating effect on food supply chains.

Critical Analysis:

This article is written more as an informative story than a piece of scientific literature. However, it does provide reliable information on what  Pestivirus CSFV is and the effects it can have. While it has been reportedly eliminated in many western countries, including America, Canada, and Australia, cases still arise such as East Anglia, United Kingdom in 2000 [1].

Question:

What makes pathogens selective in their attacking, and is it truly more advantageous to specialize and “hide under the radar” rather than diversify to obtain the maximum potential number of hosts?

Additional Info:

[1]:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_swine_fever

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