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Iowa State Tackles PRRS with Survey on Swine Biosecurity

Iowa State Tackles PRRS with Survey on Swine Biosecurity

By Andi Anderson

The pig industry is confronting a significant challenge in the form of Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS), a highly contagious virus causing substantial annual losses. In response to this threat, Iowa State University is leading a critical research initiative called the Porcine Outbreak Management Project (POMP). 

POMP focuses on investigating the practical strategies employed by swine farms to combat PRRS outbreaks. With a survey covering over 80 herds, the project aims to uncover the most effective biosecurity practices and their impact on recovery. This knowledge is crucial for developing improved tools and guidelines for managing PRRS. 

PRRS is a stealthy adversary, spreading through various bodily fluids, including nasal secretions. Direct contact and even artificial insemination can serve as potential transmission routes. While most pigs eventually develop immunity, long-term carriers remain a constant threat, silently harboring and introducing the virus to new herds. 

Understanding how different farms manage biosecurity, encompassing hygiene protocols and quarantine measures, is key to identifying what works best. POMP seeks to collect data on: 

  • Biosecurity measures: How farms prevent and control the spread of the virus within and between herds. 
  • Management practices: Vaccination strategies, herd movement protocols, and other disease management approaches. 
  • Recovery parameters: The speed at which herds recover from outbreaks and regain productivity. 

Through the analysis of this data, researchers aim to: 

  • Identify the most effective biosecurity practices: Pinpointing the strategies that truly make a difference in battling PRRS. 
  • Develop targeted recommendations: Providing tailored advice based on herd size, location, and other factors. 
  • Contribute to future PRRS research: Building a solid foundation for further studies on vaccines and treatment options. 

The call to action is extended to swine farmers to participate in the POMP survey. Their insights are pivotal in safeguarding the future of the U.S. pig industry. By working together, there is hope to turn the tide on this costly and devastating disease. 


Photo Credit: istock-srdjan-stepic

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