Beyond ASF, pork producers eye other disease threats


Associated Press

via Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (IA) - Nov 27, 2019


African swine fever may be the elephant in the room, but several other emerging diseases are on the U.S. pork industry’s radar.


Paul Sundberg, a veterinarian and executive director of the Swine Health Information Center, says the pork industry has made ASF prevention and reaction a priority as the disease spreads through China and parts of Asia.


But he says other diseases are much closer.


One of these is Central Nervous System (CNS) syndromes. Sundberg says these cases are caused by a variety of viruses.


“We are seeing a low but consistent level of CNS,” he says.


SHIC has created guidelines for handling CNS, working with Iowa State University, South Dakota State University and the University of Minnesota. More information on CHS may be found online at


The appearance of streptococcus zooepidemicus in hog operations in the U.S. and Canada is another emerging situation. Sundberg says the bacteria causes strangles in horses and now is being found in pigs.


“It has caused some significant pig death loss in Canada, and we are unsure if that is going to continue,” he says.


Sundberg says another syndrome in Canada is causing tracheitis, specifically causing severe coughing in gilt multipliers.


In addition to emerging diseases, the hog industry continues to deal with current demons such as PRRS.


Chris Rademacher, Iowa State University Extension swine veterinarian, says PRRS bites hard during the winter as the virus thrives in colder weather.


“The cold allows the virus to survive outside of the pig,” he says. “As we transition in winter, buildings are closed up and that helps the virus spread.”


Rademacher says there has been talk regarding porcine circovirus type 3.


“Some are claiming they are seeing it in reproductive failures, such as larger numbers of mummies,” he says. “There hasn’t been a lot of work to determine if this is causing the issues on its own, or as part of another problem.”


Seneca Valley virus concerns continue, primarily because of its resemblance to foot and mouth disease. Rademacher says producers and veterinarians still need to take the time to investigate their findings.


“We don’t want to get lulled to sleep because it has always been Seneca Valley virus,” he says.


Sundberg says other diseases such as...