With two confirmed cases of pseudorabies in Wisconsin and a growing population of feral hogs in the United States, it's important for all pork producers to practice thorough biosecurity measures.
“There are many simple things you can do to protect your herd’s health,” says Patrick Webb, National Pork Board's director of swine health programs. He offers the following suggestions:
- Conduct a biosecurity audit. Work with your veterinarian to assess your current practices and pinpoint biosecurity issues that need to be addressed.
- Use proper signage at your farm. Identify disease-control areas so visitors know which areas are off-limits to them. You can also designate a visitor area, as well as specific areas for visitor parking. “Make sure these areas are away from areas of the farm where swine are housed and manure is contained,” Webb says.
- Use a visitor log book. Have visitors sign the log and include their name, full contact information, arrival and departure times, and purpose of the visit. Make sure regular service providers, including veterinarians and feed-truck drivers, sign the log. “This information is critical if there’s a swine disease outbreak and traceback is required,” Webb says.
- Limit the sharing of equipment to limit the spread of disease. This includes trailers, skid loaders and manure-spreading equipment.
- Require employees and visitors to wear clean coveralls and boots. Supply coveralls and boots in small, medium and large sizes. Also make sure employees and visitors wear clean coveralls and boots each time they move from one premises to the next.
- Require appropriate downtimes for all visitors that have had previous swine contact. As swine production systems vary, work with your veterinarian to establish appropriate downtimes that such visitors must observe before entering your farm.
- Establish a plan for bringing new animals onto your farm. This includes quarantining new animals. Webb encourages you to work with you veterinarian to develop a workable plan.
- Follow appropriate biosecurity protocols after visiting animal-concentration points, sale barns or buying stations. You should at least change boots and coveralls and wash your hands and arms thoroughly prior to working with your own pigs.
- Maintain animal-movement records. List the contact information of your buyers and sellers. Also list the number and date the pigs are moved onto the farm, where they came from and include the premises identification number, if available. The same applies for swine leaving the farm—record the number, date and the destination, including the premises identification number.
- Take advantage of NPB's biosecurity materials, such as the "Security/Biosecurity guide for pork producers," available online at www.Pork.org. Click on the “For Producers” link on the homepage. Then click on the Security/Biosecurity link on the left side of the page. You also can call (800) 456-PORK for more information.
PRV was eradicated from the U.S. commercial swine herd in 2004 following an effort that began in January 1989. Before its eradication, PRV was estimated to have cost U.S. producers more than $30 million annually in vaccine costs, testing, abortion, illness, loss of productivity and access to some foreign markets.
Source: National Pork Board