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Iowa State Veterinary Researcher will Update Study on Economic Impact of Costly Disease in Pigs

An Iowa State University veterinarian is crunching updated numbers to determine the current economic impact of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, thought to be the costliest disease to threaten the pork industry. [Source: ISU News, 2/11/16]

Derald Holtkamp, an associate professor of veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine, is undertaking a three-year study to determine if recent management practices implemented by pork producers to combat the virus are curbing the monetary losses the industry has sustained for decades.

The effort, funded by a grant from the National Pork Board, will update a previous study Holtkamp released in 2012 that pegged the pork industry’s annual losses due to the virus at $664 million.

The National Pork Board set a goal to slash the annual economic impact of PRRS by 20 percent by the year 2020. Since Holtkamp finished his previous study, pork producers have implemented a number of management practices to control the disease, and the updated study will offer insight into how effective those efforts have been toward achieving the National Pork Board’s goal, he said.

Holtkamp said the updated study will draw on a combination of data supplied by pork producers and surveys and diagnostic data from local veterinarians. Holtkamp’s team will release an update on the economic effects of the virus quarterly for three years.