header shadow

ISU and IPPA Announce Proposed Iowa County Swine Disease Control Project

August 18, 2010

Dr. Jim McKean, ISU College of Veterinary Medicine, (515) 294-8792
Ms. Tiffany Yoder, ISU College of Veterinary Medicine, (515) 294-3694
Ms. Tracy Ann Raef, Veterinary Communications, (515) 294-4602


Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and the Iowa Pork Producers Association are taking steps to address a reproductive and respiratory disease that has circulated in swine herds for the past 25 years.

ISU and IPPA have proposed a Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) control project in Iowa County. PRRS has been called the most economically important disease in pigs today, costing pork producers approximately $5 to $7 per pig marketed.

An informational meeting was held for Iowa County pork producers Aug. 3 in Williamsburg. Officials shared research information about the PRRS control project, and outlined approaches for area control of PRRS virus spread in swine herds. Sixteen pork producers attended the meeting and more than 80 percent agreed to continue development of the project. Officials will contact Iowa County producers who were unable to attend the meeting to share information about the proposed project and seek their participation.

Iowa County was selected as the first area for implementation of the proposed project because its producers have a history of being locally active. Additionally, the county’s swine operations represent a cross-section of the industry.

The proposed project area is west and north of Highway 151, to Highway 6 and along Highway 149, as it bisects the county. All sites in the area with commercial pigs are to be included in the project.

“The information obtained from this project will provide tools to reduce the spread of the PRRS virus within an area,” said Dr. James McKean, ISU swine extension veterinarian. “We are studying the area movement of viruses, and developing herd and site control and elimination plans. The goal of which is to reduce prevalence and eventually stabilize, control and eliminate PRRS from the project area. Results of the project will be valuable to other Iowa producers and perhaps nationally as PRRS control and elimination programs are developed.”

The project has four primary objectives:

1. To demonstrate and develop steps needed to implement a regional PRRS control program
2. Study the impact of PRRS virus spread within a prescribed area over time
3. Study the impact of pig movement on the PRRS virus into and within the study area
4. Reduce the prevalence of the PRRS virus within the selected area

Producers who participate in the proposed project will be offered a biosecurity risk assessment tool that is managed by veterinarians at ISU. Five veterinarians from three local practices have agreed to assist Iowa County producers with the project.

“This project and the efforts of producers and their veterinarians will help us better understand the PRRS virus and its spread,” said John Weber, IPPA president and a producer from Dysart. “IPPA delegates discussed the prospects for such a PRRS program in January and this project is a result of those discussions.”

The PRRS control project is being partially funded by IPPA, with additional funds being solicited from other interested parties.