Swine industry concerned about avian influenza

Pig farmers are concerned swine could be susceptible to highly pathogenic avian influenza.

Brennen Toquam of Blooming Prairie in southeast Minnesota tells Brownfield there are many unknowns with the virus crossing species.

“We always take precautions, but there haven’t been any extra precautions as far as bird flu goes, in our swine herd.”

Tim Waibel has a hog operation near Courtland in south-central Minnesota and says an HPAI outbreak in swine could hurt an already weak market.

“The hog market hasn’t been very good the last couple years, certainly not like beef. But we need to get as many pigs to market as we can to try and get close to that profitability level.”

USDA research veterinary medical officer Dr. Amy Baker says pigs can be a mixing vessel for influenza A viruses.

“Along with other new animal hosts that continue to be shown as potentials for transmission to humans, and even human pandemics.”

She says the current high-path H5N1 virus is a concern for swine health and is calling for robust surveillance and disease investigation to improve intervention strategies.

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