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Emerging swine diseases

Whether you raise just a few pigs or hundreds, keep a close eye on their health

The porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, or PEDV, in 2013 was devastating to the U-S pig population. An organization called the Swine Health Information Center has since been developed to monitor the risk of new or emerging diseases, and help the U.S. pork industry to be better prepared when the next one arrives.

Paul Sundberg is the executive director. He says a virus that producers need to be on the lookout for in 2017 is called Seneca-A Virus, or Seneca Valley Virus. The number of cases has been on the upswing the past couple of years.

"The reason this is so important is because it looks just like foot and mouth disease. You can’t tell it apart without doing laboratory tests on it," says Sundberg. "We haven’t had foot and mouth disease in the U.S. since 1929. Should we get that, it would shut down exports, it would be devastating not just to pigs, but to cattle, the whole ag industry in the U.S."

Foot and mouth is active in other countries, so any time you see lesions or blisters on a cloven-hoofed animal, contact your veterinarian right away so it can be tested.
Sundberg says last summer, they did an international survey of top swine diseases around the world. 

"What we got back was the PRRS virus, Porcine Respiratory Reproductive Syndrome, is important all around the world. For any pork producer of any size, PRRS is an issue. Especially in China, there’s a highly-pathogenic PRRS, one that is different from the one we have here, it’s genetically different," says Sundberg. "It causes even more problems than the one we have here, so that’s something that we’re looking for."  

Some of the other top pathogens of concern in pigs include Classic Swine Fever, African Swine Fever, and the Influenza-A Virus.

Learn more about the swine diseases getting attention 

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