Swine Health Series Focuses on Influenza

Lizzy Schultz

Swinecast The latest At The Meeting (ATM) audio program with moderator Bob Morrison, DVM, PhD, provides listeners with a review and discussion of the influenza virus, an ever-evolving threat facing swine producers.

The Swinecast series includes information on how the virus is identified, effective sampling and vaccination protocols used to protect against it, and also features disease, research and practical producers can use to make informed decisions for their farms.

Part one of the program features Marie Culhane, DVM, PhD, University of Minnesota, who discusses the virus’ historical background information, as well as the naming system used to identify and discuss specific cases of influenza virus.

“We break down the naming of specific cases of influenza virus into type, origin, location, lab number, year and subtype,” Culhane says. “Within subtypes of the virus we also have clusters, all of which help guide vaccine selection and help to control the virus on farms.”

SwineCast 0888, ATM - Influenza Terminology - Part 1 of 3

In the second segment of the series, Montse Torremorell, DVM, PhD, University of Minnesota, joins in to discuss the role of nasal swab sampling in identifying the virus on farms, as well as the profound seasonality effect influenza is known for, and efforts currently being taken to identify the virus in sow farms.

The group also discusses an important recent study on the epidemiology of influenza in growing pigs, which revealed that multiple different strains of influenza were found in 90 percent of 32 sites tested in a two-year period.

“The study is a landmark that shows the wide distribution and implications of [influenza virus],” Torremorell says. “It shows the complexity of influenza in those populations, and the difficulty of controlling it.”

SwineCast 0890, ATM - Influenza And Herd Health - Part 2 of 3

In the program’s final segment, the panel discusses the role of vaccination in helping to protect pigs from the virus, as well as the future of influenza virus vaccines.

“Dr. Torremorell’s work shows strongly that if you get the right strain in the vaccine, you get very good protection,” Morrison says. “But part of the problem is you have multiple subtypes within farms, and the types that are in your farm aren’t necessarily in the vaccine – the commercial vaccines at least.”

SwineCast 0891, ATM - Influenza Vaccines, Part 3 of 3
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