The U.S. Department of Agriculture Cooperative (USDA) State Research, Education and Extension Service’s National Research Initiative has renewed funding of the Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) Coordinated Agricultural Project (CAP).

The USDA will invest $4.8 million over the next four years, according to Raymond Rowland, PRRS CAP director and faculty member in the Department of Diagnostic Medicine/Pathology at Kansas State University.

The funds will be used to achieve CAP’s goal of developing the tools and knowledge through integrated strategies to reduce animal suffering, decrease economic losses to producers, and support stakeholder efforts to control and eliminate the PRRS virus.

PRRS CAP began in 2004 and was coordinated by the University of Minnesota. The effort brought together scientists, veterinarians, pork producers and industry to develop innovative strategies to lessen the impact of PRRS and work toward eradication.

CAP activities are divided into research, extension, education and outreach.

Research efforts include the development of vaccines, understanding how the virus spreads, the development of successful biosecurity practices to control infection and reinfection, and how genes influence virus replication.

Extension is targeted at developing innovative approaches to on-farm control and elimination efforts and novel approaches to virus removal on a regional scale, led by Robert Morrison, DVM, at the University of Minnesota.

Education’s focus is providing support and opportunities for students and veterinarians to receive training by PRRS researchers, explains Rowland.

The principal outreach activity of the CAP is in support of the annual International PRRS Symposium (www.prrssymposium.org), held Dec. 5-6, 2008 in Chicago. This year’s meeting featured 87 presentations representing more than 15 countries.