Pork producers are urged to be on a heightened state of alert after a recent theft of a bacterium that causes neurologic signs and rapid death in pigs.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced recently it was notified that Actinobacillus pleuropneumonia (APP) had been stolen from a Michigan State University research facility in mid-September. The stolen materials were part of a project to develop swine vaccines.

APHIS and the National Pork Board advised producers and veterinarians to pay special attention to swine herds and be alert to unusual symptoms in pigs including convulsions, acute pneumonia and sudden death.

APP is not a threat to human health. But it can be a serious cause of respiratory disease in swine, says Beth Lautner, DVM, vice president of science and technology at the Pork Board. For control, it’s important to obtain a rapid diagnosis, followed by treatment usually with injectable antibiotics.

The Pork Board asks producers to:

  • Review the biosecurity and security plans at their farms. A Biosecurity Guide and Security Guide are available at www.porkboard.org.
  • Report any suspicious activity or persons around their farm and contact local law enforcement officials.
  • Contact their veterinarian regarding any unusual health situation on their farms.

Symptoms of APP can include cough, fever, reduced appetite, acute pneumonia, encephalitis and sudden death. In some case, frothy and bloodstained nasal discharge can also be seen.