Iowa’s reached another milestone in its fight to wipe out a disease that’s deadly to young pigs. Iowa Ag Secretary Patty Judge says the state has received a “stage four” designation for pseudorabies — meaning there’s no sign of the disease in any hog herd. She says the problem was first recognized fourteen years ago. In 1989 the state had four-thousand herds with the disease – the most in the country. The new designation allows the state to cut back on its testing program and to end the mandatory vaccination of hogs. If there’s no cases of pseudorabies discovered in Iowa in the next year — the state is declared pseudorabies free. Veterinarian Lawrence Birchmier has coordinated the state program to wipe out the disease, and says they’ll have to be vigilant in the next year. He says thousands of hogs are imported into the state every year, but he says we can get by with surveilance.He says most breeders will still vaccinate for pseudorabies, even though it won’t be required.He says the state will test about nine percent of the hogs in the state to check for the disease. with most the tests conducted on hogs who’re taken to slaughter houses.Birchmier says clearing the disease from the state cuts the number of pigs who die, and saves producers and consumers money. The state has spent five million dollars on the program to wipe pseudorabies along with millions in federal money.
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