If you haven’t done so already, make sure that you, your family and all farm personnel get a flu vaccination to help protect human and pig health. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests that anyone over six months of age be immunized for influenza each year.

“Producers and swine farm workers can reduce the risk of getting sick and bringing influenza to the farm by getting a seasonal vaccine,” said the Pork Checkoff’s David Pyburn.

The flu season can start as early as October and last through May. Sick-leave policies should encourage workers to stay away from the farm if farm personnel are experiencing influenza-like symptoms, such as acute respiratory infection.

“This can create scheduling challenges, but that’s minor compared to your herd being infected,” said Pyburn, noting that people may be contagious up to five to seven days after becoming sick.”

Proper building ventilation and hygiene can help reduce influenza virus transmission at the farm level.

“Basics such as washing your hands often and using farm-specific clothing and footwear can go a long way to minimize the influenza risk to your animals and workers,” Pyburn said.

“Also, vaccinate pigs against swine influenza virus and monitor herd health daily,” he said. “Contact your herd veterinarian immediately if influenza is suspected. Rapid detection can help manage sick pigs more effectively and prevent virus spread.”

Other actions to prevent cross-exposure of influenza viruses between species include bird-proofing buildings and protecting feed from birds. The biosecurity measures outlined within these pages will help address influenza as well as other diseases.

For more influenza related information for your farm, go to pork.org/flu or cdc.gov/flu.

Original article by the Pork Checkoff.

Implement an Influenza Program for Pigs and People