Aujeszky’s disease programme


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Aujeszky’s disease is an extremely infectious viral disease that can cause great economic damage in the pig sector and pig production herds. The Netherlands began eradicating the disease in around 1980. An effective vaccine is available and the Netherlands has officially been free of the disease since 2009. As Aujeszky’s disease is still active in Europe, the Dutch pig sector remains alert to any signs of its return and operates a monitoring programme for pigs and wild boar.

Why participate

  • Eradicate the virus from herds.
  • Improve production results and market opportunities.
  • Save money on vaccinations and mortality.

What sampling is involved

  • Starting (control) phase: We collect blood samples to evaluate prevalence in the herd. Per month we analyse 12 samples from different age groups. A DIVA test distinguishes between a field infection and vaccine virus.
  • Eradication phase: Increased sample size based on reduced virus prevalence: the lower the prevalence, the more samples will need to be collected. 
  • Certification phase: The goal is to establish a 100 percent Aujeszky’s-free herd. This is achieved by increased testing in serum and/or colostrum to detect and remove the last positive animals. All animals will need to be sampled to gain final Aujeszky’s-free status. 

How you get advised

  • GD experts advise on biosecurity and vaccination and interpret the monitoring results irrespective of whether progress in eradicating the disease has been achieved or not. The programme is based on testing, prevention of transmission and removal of the virus from the herd. The programme’s progress is followed and the sample size continuously adjusted for optimal efficiency.
  • The aim is to lower viral prevalence by reduced transmission and vaccinating: progress is checked via the results of PCR and ELISA gE and gB tests (if gB is negative, no vaccine antibodies are present). Our experts advise on biosecurity and vaccines and interpret the results of the monitoring programme. This enables them to check whether eradication of the virus is proceeding as planned or whether a change in strategy is needed.
  • We certify the testing and test results and provides certification on the Aujeszky’s-free status of the herd. Our added value lies in its expertise in carrying out an eradication programme, following-up on the results and in providing tailormade advice. 

Our expert


Manon Houben, DVM

I have been working as a pig veterinarian for over twenty years. Since 2017 I am proud to be able to call myself a registered European Specialist in pig health management. In 1997 I started as a veterinarian in a mixed practice where I was supporting pig farmers. After four years I made the switch to the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Utrecht. During these years it became increasingly clear to me at that improving health in a sustainable way a holistic approach of the farm is the only way. This resulted in the establishment of PorQ, a veterinary consultancy in pig farming, which focuses on health instead of disease and on prevention and hygiene instead of cure.

I currently work as manager of the swine health department of Royal GD. Here I support, together with a team of veterinarians and the laboratory, Dutch veterinarians and pig farmers in the care of the health of their pigs.

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