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Pork Producers Encouraged to Prepare for Flu Season

6 September 2016, at 12:00am

CANADA - The Canadian Pork Council is encouraging pork producers to be aware of the ongoing presence of swine influenza and take action to reduce the risk of exposing herds to the infection, writes Bruce Cochrane.

The Canada-West Swine Health Intelligence Network 2016 second quarter report indicates western Canada's swine herd is generally healthy and strong but influenza always presents a risk.

Dr Egan Brockhoff, the Veterinary Counsel with the Canadian Pork Council, notes, much like in the human population, influenza in swine farms is a seasonal disease.

Dr Egan Brockhoff-Canadian Pork Council:

Influenza is a very prevalent disease in our western Canadian swine herd and we have a number of different strains circulating through the western Canadian swine herd.

There's no question that influenza can have a real impact on the health and welfare of those pigs in those barns.

There's no question that we've been using autogenous designed vaccines for farms to control influenza more and more in the last few years but, at the end of the day, eliminating the virus from the farm is still the ideal outcome for controlling the disease and controlling how the virus evolves.

What we see is, as influenza becomes a bigger challenge out there in the general public, barn workers, families that work with pigs, they get exposed to influenza and often times bring that virus back into the pig barn.

So it's important to remind everybody working with pigs that they are the risk factor of bringing influenza back into the barns at times, that if they're not feeling good or if they are showing signs of fever and headache and other signs of influenza that they should steer clear of the barn.

We strongly encourage farm workers to get vaccinated for influenza to protect their herd as well.

Dr Brockhoff recommends reviewing vaccination protocols on the farm for the animals to make sure that, as we come into the fall period, that vaccination is something that's been considered and look at as necessary.

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