Rural America — Respiratory illnesses rise as temperatures drop.
It is now time to take preventative actions to protect your herd and help during flu season.
“Among influenza types, only type A viruses are known to infect pigs,” according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Heather Fowler, director of producer and public health for the National Pork Board, stresses the importance of influenza protection among farm workers, particularly those working in hog operations.
“When we’re talking about the flu, we’re talking about something that affects everybody. In this case, it can affect pigs and people. When it comes to producers and farm workers, we highly recommend they get vaccinated annually. By doing so, they’re protecting themselves, their community, family members, and also the pigs they’re working with,” Fowler said.
Fowler also urges employers to implement a sick-leave policy. Such policies encourage workers to stay home when presenting flu-like symptoms.
“It’s recommended that if you’re sick with influenza, you should not only stay home from work, but stay home altogether. You might think, ‘I’ll just take a nap, call out of work and take some errands.’ But in order to protect people and pigs, we need to stay home when we’re sick with influenza for at least 24 hours after our fever has broken without the assistance of fever reducing drugs,” Fowler said.
Pig farmers should revisit the Pork Quality Assurance Plus section of pork.org for other on-farm recommendations.