DATCP: Flu prevention recommendations issued for 2013 swine exhibition season

Contact: Raechelle Cline, 608-224-5005 or Jim Dick, Communications Director, 608-224-5020

MADISON –Looking ahead to this year’s fair season around the state, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is joining other agencies in making recommendations on how to reduce the risk of transmitting the influenza virus among swine at fair exhibitions.

“We have developed some helpful tools that show organizers can use to manage the animal and public health risk associated with influenza viruses. We also suggest these be combined with an overall biosecurity plan,” said Dr. Paul McGraw, assistant state veterinarian for DATCP.

These tools include vaccination protocols, limiting the length of stay and time between shows, and barn monitoring schedules.

A multi-agency collaboration group that includes DATCP, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the UW-Extension and the Wisconsin Pork Producers Association recommends:

* All swine should be vaccinated for influenza prior to the opening day of the exhibition, but no more than 120 days from opening day.

* If possible, exhibition organizers should limit the amount of time swine are congregated to not more than 72 hours and make sure to wait seven days between shows.

* Pigs should be observed at least 2 to 3 times daily for signs of disease or infection. Exhibition organizers should work with the fair veterinarian to have a plan in place to deal with sick pigs, which could include isolation and returning to their farm of origin.

“It is up to the fair veterinarian to evaluate the animal and make a final determination if the pig can remain on the exhibition premises,” McGraw says.

Details of the recommendations can be found at datcp.wi.gov/Animals/Fairs_and_Shows. You can also connect with us on Twitter at twitter.com/widatcp or Facebook at facebook.com/widatcp.