USDA will renew funding for the porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome Coordinated Agricultural Project. USDA’s Extension Service will invest $4.8 million over the next four years to reduce animal suffering and decrease economic loss from PRRS, which affects 60 percent of U.S. swine herds and costs the industry $580 million annually.

“A new strain of highly pathogenic PRRS has been found in China and Vietnam and is implicated as the primary cause of porcine high-fever disease, resulting in the death of large numbers of swine,” says Gale Buchanan, USDA undersecretary for research, education and economics. “Renewing the PRRS project responds to the urgent need to make sure the right tools are available to keep this foreign strain from affecting the U.S. swine population.”

USDA originally funded the project with the University of Minnesota in 2004, involving scientists, veterinarians and pork producers to develop innovative strategies to reduce PRRS impact.

The second phase of the PRRS CAP will be led by KansasStateUniversity. It will focus on PRRS prevention and control tools. Other objectives will be to increase the knowledge needed to support scientists, apply existing and new technologies in regional disease eradication efforts, and develop educational and outreach programs.

To date, the PRRS CAP project has focused on understanding how the disease works and developing an effective vaccine and other control tools. Recent findings now provide guidelines for maintenance of PRRS-free herds without vaccinations.

Institutions and organizations participating in the PRRS CAP include Kansas State University; Iowa State University; National Pork Board; Ohio State University; North Carolina State University; South Dakota State University; Universidad Autonoma, Madrid, Spain; University of Illinois; University of Michigan; University of Minnesota; University of Missouri; University of Nebraska; University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, Austria; USDA’s Agricultural Research Service’s Plum Island Disease Center;  ARS Beltsville Area Research Center; ARS National Animal Disease Center; and Virginia Tech.