AASP Pork Producer Partnerssm activities

January and February, 1999

NPPC and AASP intensify focus on biosecurity

In response to increased interest of late by the pork industry in reducing on farm disease spread and preventing the influx of foreign animal disease into the United States, NPPC Director of Veterinary Science Dr. Dave Pyburn and AASP Executive Director Dr. Tom Burkgren have formed a joint NPPC/AASP Biosecurity Working Group. The group is comprised of individuals who work with biosecurity on a daily basis and includes producers, swine practitioners, and academics. The group met recently to discuss the effectiveness of and science behind the pork industry's currently implemented biosecurity measures at both the national and farm levels, and to evaluate research needs and opportunities. Group consensus was that some of the current biosecurity measures may not be science-based, especially relative to the swine diseases we see on our farms. Working group member Dr. Harry Snelson adds that although some biosecurity measures currently in place are not science-based, there is value in following a regimented approach that focuses worker attention on basic biosecurity principles.

Working group member Dr. Sandy Amass says that one reason for the heightened interest in biosecurity has been the implementation of new technologies such as segregated early weaning, which have tended to create naive populations of pigs. According to Dr. Amass, a primary objective of the Biosecurity Working Group is to generate scientifically sound recommendations on biosecurity so that producers can make informed risk management decisions. To facilitate meeting this objective, the working group was divided into two subgroups, one focused on research and the other on education. The working group emphasizes that the top priority relative to biosecurity must be the pigs, rather than the people, since the most common way swine diseases get into any system is via the pigs. Dr. Pyburn stated that the necessary research will be done to ensure that biosecurity recommendations generated by this working group are science-based, factual, and appropriate for the swine diseases we deal with on our farms. Two key areas of research relative to on-farm disease spread will be manure and aerosol transmission. The working group's plan is to use the research findings to develop educational pieces with biosecurity recommendations for the industry.

No matter what biosecurity measures are currently being implemented on your clients' farms, Dr. Pyburn reminds AASP members that "producers generally feel these measures are important and effective, and since we're role models for the producers and employees on these farms, we need to follow these requirements. Also, the more closely we adhere to the biosecurity requirements for the farm, the less likely we are to be implicated in disease spread."

--Contributed by Dr. Teddi Wolff,
AASP Public Relations Committee

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