The Swine Disease Eradication Center is engaged in research, teaching (professional and graduate), continuing education and certification related to many areas of swine health and production, with particular emphasis on disease control and eradication, and animal welfare.
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NOTICE: PIGS AND HIGH-PATH AVIAN INFLUENZA
Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) was first detected in the US in Oregon in December 2014, and shortly thereafter in Washington, Idaho, and California, all states in the Pacific Flyway of migratory wild birds. In March 2015, a turkey flock in Minnesota became the first detection in the Mississippi Flyway, with additional detections in Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, South Dakota, Montana, North Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Indiana. By April 2015, HPAI outbreaks on commercial Midwestern poultry farms reached startling high epidemic levels never seen before in the United States. Most of the cases have been caused by a HPAI H5N2 subtype, but reports of H5N8 have also been documented. As of June 1, 2015, there have been 205 detections reported and over 44 million birds have died or been destroyed. Birds in the affected flocks have experienced high mortality and measures are in place to quarantine and depopulate the affected flocks. Contact with wild birds was considered the most likely source of infection for domestic poultry in the index cases. Flock to flock transmission is suspected in a number of subsequent cases likely through a combination of mechanical routes.
Pigs are susceptible to infection by all influenza viruses, including HPAI. Pigs are usually sub-clinical and evidence of infection is usually only by serology. However, there are reports indicating that pigs can also develop the disease and HPAI virus antigen can be detected in pigs for a limited time.
To date there is no evidence that this strain of H5N2 HPAI has infected pigs in the US. However, producers should be diligent about their biosecurity practices. Avian influenza viruses are highly contagious, extremely variable and widespread in birds. Several biosecurity measures should be implemented, including but not limited to preventing introduction of birds into swine facilities and avoiding contact with birds or bird droppings. Additionally, pigs should not be fed any grain that has been stored outside and contaminated with bird feces. Pig farms should not be supplied with non-chlorinated surface water. Farm staff should have dedicated pig-only or poultry-only duties thereby decreasing people traffic between pig and poultry sites. Additionally, pig farm sites should restrict entrance to vehicles that have been on affected poultry premises. Visits to live animal markets or poultry shows should also be avoided.
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Swine Disease Eradication Center
385 Animal Science Veterinary Medicine
1988 Fitch Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55108