USDA’s Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES) renewed funding today for the Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) Coordinated Agricultural Project (CAP).

The USDA agency will invest $4.8 million over four years to improve control efforts for PRRS, which affects 60% of U.S. swine herds at an annual cost of $580 million.

“A new strain of highly pathogenic PRRS has been found in China and Vietnam and is implicated as the primary cause of Porcine High Fever Disease, resulting in the death of large numbers of swine,” reports Gale Buchanan, USDA under secretary for Research, Education and Economics. “Renewal of the PRRS project responds to the urgent need to make sure the right tools are available to keep this foreign strain from affecting the U.S. swine population.”

Originally, CSREES funded the project to the University of Minnesota in 2004, with scientists, veterinarians, pork producers and industry collaborating to develop new ways to lessen PRRS’ impact and eliminate the virus.

The second phase of the PRRS CAP is being led by Kansas State University. The focus will be on prevention and control, knowledge needed to support scientists, application of technologies in regional disease eradication efforts and development of educational and outreach programs for scientists, producers and veterinarians.

PRRS first appeared in the United States in 1986. The disease causes sow reproductive failure, reduces growth efficiency, causes pneumonia in nursing pigs and is easily spread among herds.

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