The 2009 PRRS Symposium, recently held in Chicago, brought together scientists involved in all aspects of PRRS research: researchers, students, swine-health specialists, and pork producers, with more than 250 participants attending. There were two keynote presentations and an additional 16 talks selected from the 97 submitted abstracts that were all presented as posters (a 23% increase over 2008). The abstracts covered viral structure, design of infectious clones, host-virus interaction, vaccines, immunity, genetic resistance, ecology, and viral elimination strategies.
The National Pork Board is a key supporter of the International PRRS Symposium, including the commitments of Dr Lisa Becton, as co-chair of the organizing committee, and Stephanie Empey, as coordinator of the Web site (http://www.prrssymposium.org). The Web site serves as a continuing resource since it contains the proceedings of the 2009 PRRS Symposium, as well as those from past symposia.
The International PRRS Symposium is a collaborative effort supported by many different organizations. The US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) PRRS Coordinated Agricultural Project (CAP) initiative and the National Pork Board are the two main organizational bodies of the conference. This growing international event will again be held in Chicago in December 2010, and Dr Becton will again serve as co-chair.
Quick Facts book available
A new print and online version of Quick Facts produced by the Pork Checkoff communications team is complete. It covers the pork industry from A to Z, with a focus on industry statistics, modern production practices, and programs such as Pork Quality Assurance. It’s a one-stop reference guide for all things pork. The new online version is available on pork.org or you can order a free hard copy (available in limited quantities) by calling the Pork Checkoff Service Center at 800-456-PORK (-7675).
PQA Plus advisor recertification for 2010
The National Pork Board reminds swine veterinarians that if you were certified as a Pork Quality Assurance (PQA) Plus advisor in 2007, your recertification is due on that date in 2010. This recertification is important in order to continue to provide this value-added service to your pork-producer clients. In its efforts to ensure PQA Plus advisors are up-to-date in their knowledge of the PQA Plus program, upcoming advisor training will highlight expanded content starting in March 2010. In addition, those completing the revised training will be given updated manuals to help them pass along vital information to the thousands of pork producers across America.
For more information, contact Erik Risa at ERisa@pork.org or 515-223-2642.
Cooperating on improved surveillance
The Pork Checkoff staff has been working behind the scenes on disease surveillance for several years and continues to do so. As you know, the USDA’s National Surveillance Unit in Fort Collins, Colorado, is charged with developing national surveillance plans. For more than 4 years, the Checkoff’s Swine Health Committee has been interacting with officials there to ensure that they know what diseases the pork industry sees as priorities for surveillance. The Checkoff also has been working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the AASV for the last 2 years on what surveillance for swine influenza viruses might look like. From a bigger picture, the Pork Checkoff is working with pork producers, veterinarians, university researchers, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, state animal-health officials, packers, USDA, and the CDC to talk about what a comprehensive swine-disease surveillance system would look like in order to strengthen surveillance to benefit producers, animal health, and public health. The Checkoff will continue to help develop a surveillance system that will support international trade, look for new and emerging diseases, and aid producers and their veterinarians in making animal-health and biosecurity decisions.