A virus that kills pigs could be brought into Britain by tourists bringing ham sandwiches into the country, the UK’s top vet has warned.
To stop African swine fever spreading to Britain’s five million pigs, the Government has started a campaign to warn travellers against bringing meat in their luggage.
The contagious illness, which has forced the cull of five million animals and has spread as close as Belgium – does not affect humans.
Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Christine Middlemiss the told The Daily Telegraph: ‘It would be devastating.
The contagious illness, which has forced the cull of five million animals and has spread as close as Belgium – does not affect humans
There’s no cure, there’s no treatment and there’s no vaccine. You’d liken it to the impact of foot and mouth disease.’
More than six million animals were slaughtered after the foot and mouth disease outbreak in 2001, costing the country £8billion.
The Government is putting posters at ports, airports and the Eurostar terminal urging passengers not to bring in pork from affected areas.
It is illegal to bring meat products from non-EU nations, but not from within the bloc.
African swine flu is spread when pigs or boar eat infected meat or come into contact with contaminated people, animals or items.