In 2001, veterinarians, farm advisers and farmers will be educated in using the Health Planner. Some parts of the Health Planner will be automised and linked to existing farm management information systems. INTRODUCTION In the last few years several dutch farmers organisations, veterinarians and research institutes, including the Research Institute for Animal Husbandry, have been working together on development of a Health Planner Pigs. The Health Planner Pigs purpose is to support planning, carrying out and evaluation of animal health care on pig farms. The planner includes a) a periodical evaluation of the health situation based on health and production parameters in combination with target figures, b) a systematical check on farm risk factors and c) a division for specific analysis and tackling health problems on the farm. In 1998 the practical value of the Health Planner Pigs was tested under field conditions. Several production and health parameters, used by the farmers in the periodical evaluation of the health situation, were collected centrally to get an impression of the new health parameters levels. RESULTS Monitoring health parameters At the beginning of the experiment 63% of the farmers thought their insight into the development of chronical diseases on the farm to be moderate to insufficient. In spite of interpretation problems the farmers and advisers in general positively appreciated the periodical analysis of the health parameters and other parameters Table 1 Farmers and advisers appreciation of the value of using parameters in the Health Planner Pigs farmer veterinarian farm adviser sooner insight into when problems arise better insight into health situation 71% 73% 84% 70% 67% 73% About one quarter of the farmers and advisers found that using health parameters on the farm contributed little or nothing to the insight into farm health situation. Analysis of farm risk factors The Health Planner comprises several risk factor checklists, such as for climate, hygiene and vaccination. A good cooperation between farmer, veterinarian and adviser however is necessary for a good use of the Health Planner and profitable for farm results. One of them is realising a once-only and clear registration of treatments and mortality in the pig house, which is suitable for more purposes, medicin registration, Health Planner Pigs et cetera). In the winter of 2000/2001 veterinarians and other farm advisers are educated in the use of the Health Planner Pigs in advising pig farms. At the same time, parts of the Health Planner Pigs will be automised and linked to the existing farm management information systems. At the end of 2001, farmers will be educated in using the Health Planner and its automised products.
Farmers pick up staph infections from pigs
Swine farmers are six times more likely to carry multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus than people who don’t have regular contact with pigs. A new study is the largest prospective examination of S. aureus infection in a group of livestock workers worldwide, and the first such study in the United States. S. aureus is a type of bacteria commonly found on the skin as well as in the noses and throats of people and animals. Although most infections are minor, S. aureus can sometimes cause serious infections. Increasingly, drug-resistant strains of S. aureus are emerging, including methicillin-resistant, tetracycline-resistant, or multidrug-resistant strains. While previous studies have shown that certain strains of S. aureus are often associated with swine, cattle, and poultry exposure, little is known about livestock-associated staph carriage and infection in the United States. S. aureus doesn’t present an economic concern for swine farmers since pigs generally are unaffected by staph infections. “S. aureus does not typically make pigs sick, but they can act as carriers and transmit the bacterium to farmers,” says Tara Smith, corresponding author of the study. “While carriage of S. aureus isn’t itself harmful, individuals who harbor the bacterium in their nose, throat, or on their skin are at risk of developing an active staph infection, and they can also pass the bacterium to other family or community members.” Participants who experienced skin infections during the study period also were assessed for S. aureus. Overall, 26 percent of the participants carried the bacteria-but farmers with livestock exposure, particularly swine exposure, were more likely to carry MDRSA, TRSA, and livestock-associated S. aureus than those who weren’t exposed to livestock. “Current swine workers were six times more likely to carry multidrug-resistant S. aureus than those study participants without current swine exposure,” Smith says. “One hundred and three potential S. aureus infections were reported, and included infections with livestock-associated strains of this bacterium.” There currently is no method to prevent or eliminate carriage of S. aureus in animals or their human caretakers, meaning constant re-exposure and possibly transmission can occur between livestock and farm workers. “Transmission of staph between pigs and farmers and into the broader community could complicate efforts to control S. aureus transmission statewide, and have effects nationally due to the travel of pigs and people carrying these bacteria.”
Being a Human Guinea Pig: What Are the Risks?
Shortly after receiving an injection of a new experimental drug on Monday, six men in a research unit in London fell violently ill and developed multiple organ failure. Their harrowing experience – various reports indicate the men quickly swelled up, having undergone anaphylactic shock, or an extremely potent allergic reaction – is casting light on the clinical trial process, a system that has undeniably made important and frequent discoveries in medicine, but also creates unavoidable risks for the people who volunteer to be test subjects. The pharmaceutical company testing the product, TeGenero AG, insists that thorough animal studies were done before human testing began. The trial was known as a phase one study, meaning that the drug was given to healthy people to help determine its safety. The next step, a phase two trial, includes giving the drug to people with the illness the drug is meant to treat to determine its effectiveness and side effects. The final step before the drug is allowed to be prescribed is a phase three trial, where large amounts of people are given the drug. If the drug is proven effective and passes safety tests, it is usually approved for prescription use. That’s why test subjects are supposed to sign an informed consent form, which ideally defines that there are both known and unknown risks to being in any clinical trial, noted Dr. Greg Koski, a former director of the federal Office for Human Research Protections and an assistant professor at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Many trials offer economic incentives to volunteers, some of whom make a livable wage from being human guinea pigs in the name of science. This trend was documented by Bob Helms, a self-described human guinea pig who wrote the book “Guinea Pig Zero.” Read his story here. Investigation Under Way While there are always risks to these human guinea pigs, reactions as serious as what happened in London remain unusual – which is why the trial was immediately halted and investigators have been brought in to examine what could have led to such horrible circumstances. The start of a phase one trial is not the most risky part of the pipeline – it’s usually the phase three portion, when a large amount of people receive a drug, increasing the chance that underlying side effects could occur. Phase one trials are unique in that they are the first time a human receives a drug. “Even though you may have done extensive testing on animals, animals are simply not humans,” Koski said. “When you are the very first human being to be injected with a new compound, you just don’t know what’s going to happen.”