Officials with the World Pork Expo are taking extra precautions to prevent the spread of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv).
The virus has already been responsible for decimating the nation’s herd, killing as many as 7 million pigs since it was first identified last year; however, at this year’s expo, officials are strengthening biosecurity to avoid spreading the highly contagious virus.
According to The Des Moines (Iowa) Register, animal exhibitors will be required to prove their pigs have been examined by a veterinarian and is healthy prior to coming to Des Moines. A veterinarian will inspect the animals for PEDv and other diseases again upon arrival.
Additionally, workers are disinfecting the 326,000 square feet of fairground pig barns, which will be cleaned once the animals leave.
Biosecurity efforts don’t end there. Pork producers at the show will be asked to wear clothes and boots that haven’t been worn at home in pig barns. There will also be places at the Expo where producers can disinfect their boots before they return home.
The reasons for the caution is clear.
"It takes only microscopic amounts" of the virus to infect a herd, said Rodney "Butch" Baker, an Iowa State University veterinarian.
Other state fairs have decided against having pigs as part of their birthing centers.
Rodney "Butch" Baker, an Iowa State University veterinarian, points that “"if sows do get PED, the baby pigs are the ones that die. ... That's not going to be a good experience" for fairgoers.”
An Iowa State Fair official said its birthing center will have piglets.