$50 billion. That’s the estimated economic impact over 10 years if African swine fever finds its way into the United States, according to the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).
And the threat is not limited to foreign animal diseases. High costs from endemic diseases, such as porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, also plague health and productivity on U.S. swine farms.
Developing a biosecurity plan and training farm employees on biosecurity practices are necessary steps to prevent high-consequence pathogens like these from entering and affecting swine farms. Now a “one-stop shop” for the information and resources pork producers need for their on-farm biosecurity program can be found at a website created at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine.
“They say ‘what you don’t coach, you condone,’ and biosecurity is certainly not something the swine industry can afford to condone,” said Dr. Isha Agrawal, a doctoral student in the lab of Dr. Csaba Varga who led the development of the website.
Swine Biosecurity is an interactive website that features:
- The DOs and DONTs of swine biosecurity
- Six modules that explain concepts related to swine health and biosecurity in a concise and jargon-free manner
- “Test Your Knowledge” quizzes
- Downloadable infographics to help train and educate farm employees
- Downloadable signs to be posted on farms to identify bio-secure areas and other safety measures
- Links to swine health and biosecurity resources for farmers
“We hope that veterinarians will share this website with the pork producers they serve,” said Dr. Varga. “The dissemination of authoritative and easy-to-follow information is crucial to protect the health of animals on farms, the profitability of individual farms, and the integrity of the swine industry throughout the country. One instance of disease outbreak can rapidly spread and impact the entire industry.”
Creation of the website was supported with Farm Bill funding through the USDA APHIS Veterinary Services’ National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program.