A warning that the risk of PRRS (porcine respiratory and reproductive syndrome) may be higher than normal this winter is included in the latest pig disease surveillance report issued by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).
Noting that there tends to be a peak in PRRS diagnoses in the winter months, the Agency’s pre-winter warning highlights the emergence of a “concerning trend” in recent months.
“This year, the diagnostic rate of PRRS from July to September was higher than the same quarter in any of the last 10 years,” said APHA. “This raises concern that there will be more active infection present going into the cooler months, further increasing the risk of virus spread during this time.”
The observation is included in the Agency’s September surveillance report, alongside an explanation of why the winter is more of a challenge, regarding PRRS control, and how producers should set about getting the best diagnosis possible.
On the winter challenge, the report states: “Survival of the virus in contaminated pig accommodation, vehicles or on other fomites is more likely (than in warmer months) as effective cleaning and disinfection and drying of surfaces is harder to achieve in wet and cold weather.”
On the subject of diagnosis, it adds: “Outbreaks of respiratory disease may involve more than one infectious cause. Ideally, a batch of three typically affected pigs early in the course of disease should be sampled or submitted to provide the best material for both diagnosis and pig disease surveillance.”