The virulent pathogen is hard to detect and can spread quickly from pig to pig
By Kate Ayers
Influenza A virus in swine (IAV-S) is a pathogen proving hard to control in pig populations, thus frustrating producers and veterinarians.
The virus exists in pig herds in North America, South America, Asia and Europe. It has a significant impact on an infected operation’s production and profits.
For instance, IAV-S costs the producer USD$3.23 per head.
But “more often, (IAV-S) is going to be present with other pathogens in the porcine respiratory disease complex. So, you have multiple respiratory pathogens affecting the pig at the same time, which can make diagnosing and treating them extremely difficult,” Dr. Christa Goodell, technical manager at Boehringer Ingelheim, said in the company’s release.
When the animal is infected by influenza and porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS), for example, the cost is USD$10.41 per head, according to Friday’s release from Boehringer Ingelheim.
A common case of IAV-S lasts 10 to 14 days. “Clinical signs include fever, coughing, sneezing, runny nose, difficulty breathing, going off feed, and lethargy appearing early in the infection,” according to the release.
The virus is typically spread through direct contact, through the air and by contact with contaminated surfaces. The highest transmission occurs in the first 48 hours of infection.
IAV-S can infect pigs of any age but is principally found in early nursery or grow-finisher pigs, according to the release.
Producers have a hard time controlling and eliminating this pathogen due to the difficulty of detection and the high transmission rate. The virus can also mutate easily, which makes it challenging to find a vaccine that can protect against all IAV-S strains.
“For producers and vets who are trying to control strains on their farm from evolving and drifting away from the vaccines, as well as new strains being introduced, it's a very complex and challenging problem,” Dr. Amy Vincent, research veterinary medical officer, USDA agricultural research service, said in the release.