Pork Producers and Public Encouraged to Get Vaccinated Against Influenza

Nov 07, 2014

The manager of the Canadian Swine Health Intelligence Network is encouraging pork producers and the public to get their flu shots to help limit any spread of influenza.

Certain strains of Influenza will infect people, others will infect animals and in some cases strains will infect both animals and people.

Dr. Chris Byra, a swine veterinarian with Greenbelt Swine Veterinary Service and manager of components of the Canadian Swine Health Intelligence Network, says we've seen a slight increase in influenza during the past three months, which is unusual because we usually don't see very much during the summer.

Dr. Chris Byra-Greenbelt Swine Veterinary Service:
We strongly recommend that producers and barn staff are vaccinated.
They pose a risk to the farm.

We've certainly seen barn breaks happen when somebody sick with the flu works in the barn so just from that perspective alone we would strongly recommend that the public is vaccinated.

It generally pretty much follows the human influenza so when we see people starting to get influenza through schools and through travel and so on usually it's transferred to the pig farms from the people.
Lately the strains that are being see most commonly has been the pandemic strain which is the one that people are carrying the most of these days.
Pig farms that have a regular problem with influenza may vaccinate.

We have some that'll vaccinate seasonally during this time of year because that's when they would see the problem.

They usually vaccinate the sows and try to reduce the impact those sows might have on the rest of the pigs but many herds don't and they just live through the break.
It lasts the same length it does in people, a week or two, and things will generally go back to normal.

There are certainly costs in between though because pigs are sick and just not eating well.

Dr. Byra says in Manitoba, for instance, influenza is no longer viewed as a seasonal disease but just an ongoing issue and it's expected to start ramping up now.

Source: Farmscape