By KARLA POMEROY
U.S. Department of Agriculture veterinarian John Duncan came to the Big Horn County Fair Board meeting June 2 to discuss the issue and answer any questions the board may have.
Big Horn County 4-H Educator Gretchen Gasvoda said she and Paintrock FFA Advisor Jared Boardman agreed not to allow any out-of-state pigs at the jackpot later this month.
According to the Wyoming Livestock Board (WLSB), the virus is the Porcine Epidemic Di-arrhea virus (PEDv). The board, in a memo to swine exhibition organizers, managers and exhibitors, said, “swine exhibition event managers and swine exhibitors are encouraged to help prevent the introduction and spread of the very contagious PEDv, which has proven to be extremely damaging to the swine industry nationwide.
“The virus has spread to nearly 30 states since first being identified in the United States in April 2013, and it has caused the death of millions of pigs in numerous herds across the country.”
According to the Livestock Board, the disease primarily affects “suckling piglets and young pigs, and can remain in a swine operation in carrier pigs. PEDv is very lethal in swine production units and producers raising piglets can be hard hit if this virus is introduced into their herd. The disease can spread from pig to pig, but can also be spread mechanically by transmission from manure, feed, tack, trucks, boots and clothing, that are contaminated with the virus.”
Duncan said there is zero chance of the virus being spread to humans or any harm to humans.
COUNTY FAIR IMPACT
The question at the meeting centered around the swine show during the county fair.
It was noted at the time of the meeting they were not going to allow any breeding or open class swine at the county fair swine show.
Jessica Haley and her father Cecil Mullins were in attendance to lobby for allowing breeder pigs at the fair.
Haley said, “My big concern is where you’re eliminating the breeding show. We already have our breeding project. How are you differentiating market and breeding? We have a plan to keep ours away from other swine. There has to be biosecurity concern at all levels.”
Duncan agreed, noting, “Everything’s at risk, you mitigate the risk though biosecurity. This is not a ‘when it gets impacted,’ but when will you be impacted. We’re not trying to stop it, we’re trying to slow it down.”
He said any plan the fair board puts in place needs to be a sustainable biosecurity program. “It won’t hit you at this fair probably, but it will in future years. I worry about complacency if you draw a high bar and then lower it next year.”
He said Wyoming has two confirmed places where virus has been detected and they are already in high secure units. Duncan said about half states surrounding us are known to have it.
“This disease is going to become endemic to U.S. swine. It’s not a question of if, but when.”
Duncan said at this point the USDA and WLSB is hoping to slow the spread. They are making it reportable and have begun discussions of biosecurity. He said the WLSB has issued some recommendations:
•All Wyoming swine exhibition events should require an affidavit from exhibitors stating that the swine have not in the past 60 days been exposed to or ever been diagnosed with PEDv. Gasvoda said health certificates and the affidavit will be required at the jackpot this month.
The board decided that both will also be required at the county fair. The swine show is slated for Wednesday, July 30.
•Swine not born in Wyoming are not to be exhibited at any Wyoming event in 2014 unless they have resided in Wyoming for a minimum of 30 days prior to the show with no signs of PEDv. Gasvoda said no out-of-state pigs will be allowed at the jackpot.
As for the fair, most of the pigs have been born in Wyoming or have resided in Wyoming more than 30 days.
Duncan said the board should also consider basic biosecurity such as handwashing stations or hand sanitizers at arena to reduce the spread.
He said they could also have some disinfectant available for use on shared equipments and if the board loans out equipment they should require that it be cleaned and disinfected when returned.
He said he has 50 tablets that can be mixed in a spray bottle with water that can be used as a disinfectant. Cost is $20 per pill. The board and livestock sale board (Gasvoda as the chairman) agreed to split the cost and have the disinfectant available for the washing stations and for the swine pens.
In regard to allowing breeding swine in the show or not, Duncan suggested minimizing time of breeding swine at the county fair.
Casey Sorenson said, “There’s a risk with or without breeding swine.”
He suggested allowing for an early release for breeding stock. Swine are weighed in Wednesday morning of the show. The board recommended that breeding swine and open class be removed from the grounds that night.
Andy Perkins agreed, stating there is no more risk for breeding or market swine but it is important to get them in and get them out.
The board reiterated that for all market and breeding animals they will have a veterinarian available to check animals before they are unloaded. As usual, all animals must have a health certificate.
Times for unloading will be set according to the veterinarian’s availability. If a veterinarian is not available, animals will not be able to be unloaded early.