Editor's note: The following article was featured in the July/August issue of PorkNetwork magazine.

Noel Garbes, DVM, with the Bethany Animal Hospital in Sycamore, Ill., outlined 10 principles of the clinic’s northern Illinois Area Regional Control (ARC) project at this year’s World Pork Expo. Here are highlights from his “Top 10” list:

1. All On Board – The project is a marathon – not a sprint – toward studying, controlling and eradicating PRRS. It is essential to have 100 percent participation to drive the project’s progress and success. Garbes says, “There will be some bumps on the road. You have to tell people up front that it will take awhile.”

2. Strengthening Essentials – Full commitment from the producers and veterinarians in the surrounding area plays a large role in the PRRS ARC project, but strong communication and transparency are also essential in promoting and strengthening buy-in to the project (see accompanying article).

3.  Stick to the Plan – Establishing a surveillance plan is only part of the project. The plan must be adhered to before, during, and after a stabilization and elimination plan has been put in place. This process allows for quick identification and response to new outbreaks.

4.  Test Breeding Stock – Garbes points that all breeding stock entering the area should be tested PRRS-negative prior to entry into a sow farm.  Monitoring PRRS includes serology, tissue diagnostics and oral fluid testing.

5.  Plan for a Positive Result – If sow herds become infected with field virus, producers must move to a stabilization plan, followed by efforts to eliminate the virus from the farm.

6.  Protecting Neighbors – Once a nursery or finishing site has a known source of negative pigs, elimination of the virus from the site is a goal, to reduce the spread to neighboring farms.

7.  Don’t Forget the Trucks – Even in areas free of PRRS-positive breeding stock with limited weaner and feeder pig movements, producers should take remember about biosecurity. Garbes notes that the most serious exposure of the area to external field virus introduction is from contaminated trucks coming from packer-processors. It should be the goal to have 100 percent of trucks washed, disinfected and dried prior to loading.

8.  Use Your PRRS Toolbox – A modified live virus (MLV) PRRS vaccine aids in reducing shedding within a herd and spread from infected sites. It also reduces the severity of breaks from new field-virus introductions. Unlike live virus inoculation (see #9 below), a PRRS MLV is a tool “for immune stimulation in control and elimination attempts and for the reduction of shedding and spread on the site and to the area.”

9.  Caution Using Live Virus Inoculation –Garbes has found the use of live virus inoculation (LVI) is a known disseminator of virulent PRRS virus and is not an option in northern Illinois. He encourages producers in the area to stop using LVI, and to his knowledge, no producers in their region use it. 

10.  Consider Filters – Using filters is especially relevant for what Garbes calls “high-importance” sites, such as boar studs, gilt developers or sow farms in areas with high-risk exposure.

Bottom Line
Erin Johnson, DVM, technical manager for Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc., adds that while there are both direct and indirect values of an ARC project, there is no specific template or manual to use. It’s not a one-model-fits-all project. “Every project is different and coordinators have approached targeted disease control in their own way,” she says.

For more articles and features from the July/August issue of PorkNetwork, click here.