A fight to eradicate a serious disease in Iowa hogs that took more than a decade to complete was declared a success today. Iowa Agriculture Secretary Patty Judge says the U-S-D-A has declared the state free of pseudorabies. She says this is a longtime coming and says it has been a very intense program. Pseudorabies causes baby pigs to be stillborn, and can lead to dead among adult hogs as well. Judge says over four-thousand herds of hogs were infected in 1989, and the statewide effort to wipe out the disease began in 1993.She says it is a disease that affected the number of pigs, so it was an economic problem for farmers. She says hopefully, farmers will now be better off and have more money to spend. Judge says pseudorabies was never a health concern for consumers — but says it’s irradication should cut the cost of producing hogs. She says it was an economic impact to pork producers that is gone and helps their bottom line, which she says “Helps the world roll around better.” Bruce Janke is the director of the Veterinary Diagnostics Lab at Iowa State University. He says thinking back to when the effort started — it’s hard to believe they accomplished the task. He says at that time the idea of being able to eradicate a disease that was so widespread seemed “ludicrous”. He says it’s one thing when you have two or three herds that’re infected, but he says having thousands of herds made it seem insurmountable. Janke says it was a busy time at the lab during the height of testing. He says at the peak of the effort, they were testing over two million samples a year. He says that breaks down to about four thousand samples every work day, five days a week. Judge says the state is the nation’s leader in hog production with 15 million animals. She says the state will still have to be on the lookout for imported hogs that may contain pseudorabies.
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