After becoming a subscribee to the Pork Checkoff magazine, I received an advertisement via email for the world pork expo. I brushed it off thinking it would not help me much in my position as your AZDA-PEDV outreach staff member.
Well about 7 days prior to the meeting I received another offer to get the app on my phone. So, intrigued by the offer, I looked into it a little more and much to my surprise, there was a whole lot more to this expo than what I thought. I requested to be a part of this experience and was not let down by the educational pieces this expo provided.
Some of the classes I attended reiterated the same information we’ve been hearing for the last year; such as the way PEDV entered into the US is still unknown, 100% mortality rate in piglets from birth to approximately 7 days and the rapid spread through the US was via livestock trailers.
However, presenters mentioned why we are seeing a decrease is largely in part due to understanding the means of transmission, research on disinfectants, additional truck washes, feed changes and herd immunity.
The better news was hearing about the effectiveness of the Harris Vaccine aka rapid response (RP) prescription vaccines. These are DIVA (Differentiating Infected from Vaccinated Animals) compatible. They initiate humoral and cellular immune response and are a multivalent vaccine (customized vaccination to what is currently going on in herd). The vaccination has a rapid response hence the reason for prescription because they will need heavy monitoring and the vaccine can be made herd specific in 6-8 weeks.
Dr. M.T. Rodibaugh (a presenter) discussed a study that’s being conducted on 6 different US herds they couldn’t get cleaned up from PEDV. During his time of trying to get it cleaned up, they discovered passive iatrogenic immunity passed via milk was not permanent and gut to mammary secretory IgA axis carried immunity to more distant sites. He stated prior to the Harris Vaccination, they were weaning approximately 2.4% and had approximately a 78.3% mortality rate. After the Harris Vaccine given 7-10 days pre farrow, they increased the amount of piglets in weaning to 10.3 % and a huge decrease to 10.8% mortality rate. There was a mention of Harris vaccine vs. the Zoetis vaccine and it was said they both had a good response, however Harris appeared to present a higher yield of immunity after only 1 vaccination.
Another speaker Dr. Dante J. Palabrica from the Philippines discussed a Harris vaccine study conducted on a >200,000 pig farm where their process is farm to fork meaning they breed, raise and slaughter their own. He discussed their rigorous biosecurity measures that also included banning their workers from eating pork meat products, color coded uniforms and slippers for individual units, and he still had large amounts of losses from his herd until they started utilizing the Harris Vaccine. His comment was post vaccinations with the Harris Vaccines, they saw higher antibodies in the colostrum and a huge decrease in mortality rates.
On a different note, the Swine Health Information Center presented on a new defense for the industry and primarily hit home on preparedness since the pathway of induction for PEDV to the US is still unknown, he advised we should be prepared for the next disease to hit because it is coming (look at Avian Influenza). There was emphasis placed on the farmers understanding that USDA alone cannot respond to emerging diseases and the industry needs to take more responsibility for non-regulatory diseases. There needs to be better state-federal-industry response coordination as this is essential to combating many of upcoming diseases. There was also discussion about funding that is currently being set aside to create a liaison group between farmers and government to protect personal information from public record.
One of the last classes I attended was one on planning for an emergency mass-depopulation of swine in response to a foreign animal disease outbreak. The discussion was primarily focusing on an in ground pit or dump truck as a means of a chamber and using CO2 gas to induce mass humane euthanasia because of its anesthetic properties, availability, cost and ease of use. One concern they addressed is temperature of the gas and methods to decrease pressure at a low cost which entailed an enclosed propane take with a heat source, specific valves, cinder blocks and +/- a reservoir bag. The methodology was presented in detail and quite lengthy but, it is quite doable in the event we should have to succumb to these circumstances.
In conclusion, the World Pork Expo is far more than a show with multiple pork industry exhibitors. There was definitely something to be learned by a multitude of individuals and if that wasn’t enough; the scenery was fantastic and the free all-you-can-eat barbecue pulled pork sandwiches, ribs, BACON and all the fixin’s, I would hope entice you for a visit to learn more about current happenings in the swine industry next year.