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How World Pork Expo officials are keeping a killer pig virus at bay

DES MOINES, Iowa – On the concourse at the World Pork Expo in Des Moines, you can smell the bacon.

Head a little farther south to the swine barn, and the smell’s a little different. There, the National Swine Registry is holding its World Pork Expo Junior National contest, and there’s no shortage of show pigs.

Leading up to the World Pork Expo, media coverage of its biosecurity measures intensified, due to concerns on porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv), which is nearly always fatal in young piglets. National Swine Registry CEO Mike Paul, above, says biosecurity for show animals is a priority, with or without PEDv.

“We have specific guidelines and health rules that are followed for all of our events,” Paul explained. “We have events just about every month somewhere in the United States. All our animals travel with a certificate of veterinarian inspection. There are certain health rules that each state has in place that we have to follow, our exhibitors do, so they can exhibit animals.”

Paul was careful to point however, that some things have changed due to the unique threat that PEDv poses.

“We visited with several veterinarians early in the year about what we should do for our events this year,” said Paul, “and we did add a statement that exhibitors, their farms or farms of origin, could not have [porcine epidemic diarrhea virus] within 60 days of coming to an event.”

The list of diseases that the swine industry contends with is almost an alphabet soup of acronyms. Paul says it comes with the territory.

“Being in the animal industry, there’s always certain issues a person has to deal with,” he said. “Over the years, there’s been pseudorabies, TGE, PERS, different things like that, that all exhibitors, and the swine industry, have to deal with.”

Paul adds that the World Pork Expo organizers placed disinfecting stations around the fairgrounds, in order to allow patrons to clean their shoes when they exit an area where transmission of PEDv is more likely.

To hear more about biosecurity at the World Pork Expo, click here.