State and federal animal health officials and pork producers have collaborated to produce an on-farm plan to keep the pork industry operating as normal in the event a U.S. pig herd is suspected or confirmed as being infected with the novel H1N1 Flu Outbreak Virus.

The plan covers surveillance and actions recommended when the novel H1N1 virus is confirmed. State animal health officials remain the primary source of reliable information for the H1N1 virus and will be instrumental in the plan’s successful implementation.

Under this plan, the herd veterinarian will work with the state animal health official and the pork producer to monitor animals for illness.

When the herd veterinarian has made a determination the animals have recovered, or under direction of the state animal health official, pigs would be allowed to move freely through production and market channels.

“This plan of action is an important step to ensure the best possible outcome for producers, pigs and consumers,” says Paul Sundberg, DVM, vice president of science and technology for the Pork Checkoff. “It strengthens the already-strong relationship the pork industry has with state and federal animal health officials, which will allow us to act quickly if the novel H1N1 virus is detected at the farm level.

“In addition, the plan will allow recovered pigs to move through production and market channels, which should reassure producers at this time,” he says.

The Pork Checkoff urges producers to continue to work with their veterinarian to implement strict biosecurity protocols to prevent possible spread of the novel virus onto their farms. Surveillance, cooperation and strict biosecurity are key elements in the pork industry’s efforts to effectively manage and resolve H1N1 virus infections in U.S. swine while protecting both public and animal health.

Those strict biosecurity steps include:

--Limiting the number of people allowed into your pork operation.

--Implementing an enhanced biosecurity protocol for workers, service personnel and all other people and equipment entering your hog facilities.

--Implementing and enforcing strict sick leave policies for workers who have developed influenza-like symptoms.

--Following industry-accepted biosecurity practices that require basic hygiene practices, ensure properly adjusted and maintained ventilation, advise all workers to be vaccinated against the seasonal influenza virus and encourage review of herd health programs with your veterinarian to ensure they are current and effective for your farm.

Producers should also stay vigilant about the health of their employees and the animals in their care.

For more details on biosecurity recommendations, go to www.pork.org.