Data from Steve Tousignant, DVM, at the National PRRS virus Incidence Project at the University of Minnesota, documents that annual epidemics of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome are repeatable.

This is evidenced by a study that recorded the number of new PRRS virus cases in 370 sow herds across 14 unique production systems. For the past four years, the number of new cases on a weekly basis was expected to dramatically rise in mid-October (see graph).

To prepare for this season’s PRRS virus epidemic, take these precautions:

  • Maintenance or repairs on filtration systems should be well underway and nearing completion. Because there is documentation that even filtered farms will break with new PRRS virus infections, it is important to remember all aspects of biosecurity.
  • Conducting audits with farm personnel should include a walk around the outside of the barn to ensure weeds are trimmed away from the barn, rodent bait stations are refilled, and any holes in curtains or soffits are repaired.
  • Inside the barn, it is good to review personnel and equipment entry protocols and what to do if a mistake happens, especially in cases of high employee turnover.
  • Entry ways, animal load outs, showers and decontamination rooms should be cleaned, organized, and restocked with all equipment needed at each location.

All efforts at this point should only help to reduce the risk of new infections this PRRS virus season, Tousignant says.

For more information about this PRRS virus project, contact Tousignant at  tous0026@umn.edu.