The National Pork Board is recommending that all hog farm workers get flu shots for the flu season, which runs from October to May.
“Producers and hog farm workers can reduce the risk of bringing the flu to the farm and infecting the pigs they care for by getting a flu shot,” says Liz Wagstrom, DVM, assistant vice president of science and technology for the Pork Board.
Influenza viruses can be classified as type A, B and C. Type A influenza can be passed between people and pigs. “The flu shot contains two Type A viruses that we want to prevent from spreading,” she says. “The vaccine also has a Type B virus in the mix, but this type of virus is not of concern to the health of our pigs. Humans will develop antibodies against the flu two weeks after taking the flu shot.”
The following practices also help reduce infection of pigs with human influenza viruses:
A fact sheet from the National Pork Board, “Influenza: Pigs, People and Public Health,” is available by calling 800-456-7675, or logging onto www.pork.org. and clicking on Hot Topics and Producer/Public Health.