Pseudorabies Found at Saginaw County Ranch

US – The Michigan Department of Agriculture’s (MDA) Geagley Laboratory has confirmed pseudorabies virus (PRV) infection in 19 sport swine on a privately owned cervid facility in Saginaw County.
calendar icon 8 May 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

Pseudorabies is a highly contagious viral disease of swine that causes newborn piglets to die. Rarely, the disease can cause sudden death in cats and dogs and can affect cattle, sheep, and deer. The virus does not cause illness in humans and is not related to rabies.

"We must protect Michigan’s $230 million swine industry," said Don Koivisto, MDA Director.

"Michigan achieved PRV- free status in 2000, and the ability of this disease to be spread by feral hogs to other animals could be a risk to the swine industry."

All swine on the Saginaw County cervid facility will be captured and destroyed. Feral swine in the vicinity of the facility are being trapped and euthanized by the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Wildlife Services for disease testing. MDA encourages Michigan residents to shoot feral swine and to have MDA test the carcass for disease.

"We are contacting other states to notify them of the disease and anticipate some out-of-state markets will impose restrictions on live swine from Michigan until testing proves that this is an isolated case," said MDA State Veterinarian Steven Halstead.

"We need to confirm as quickly as possible that the disease has not spread to other farms."

Effective immediately, MDA is banning the importation of swine intended for: breeding on game ranches, for supply to game ranches, or facilities using swine for sport, hunting, or shooting. Any farms that sold to, or received live swine from this facility will be quarantined and tested. Violations of the quarantine and ban are punishable by fines of up to $50,000 and/or up to five years imprisonment. Additionally, all farms and ranches with commercial or sport swine in a five-mile radius around the PRV positive ranch will be quarantined and the swine tested for PRV.

Michigan’s PRV-free status for the commercial swine industry should remain intact as long as commercial operations remain PRV-free.

Because of concerns regarding transmitting PRV to pigs through the feeding of garbage containing meat, Michigan prohibited garbage feeding several years ago. Meat from PRV positive swine is safe for humans to consume; however, MDA recommends cooking meat to 165 degrees F as a general precaution against foodborne illness.

PRV is transmitted through nasal and oral secretions, food, water, and the environment, and can be carried on car tires, boots, and clothing. Additionally, swine may harbor the virus without showing clear signs.

Further Reading

- Find out more information on pseudorabies virus by clicking here.
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