Recommendations for Risk Management at Swine Exhibitions and for Show Pigs

May 18, 2009

A group of industry stakeholders facilitated by National Pork Board staff that included representatives from the National Association of Swine Records (NSR, CPS, and ABA), swine extension specialists, pork producers and the National Pork Producers Council met to address potential concerns with swine exhibitions and pig shows related to the influenza A H1N1-2009 outbreak. The group received input on a draft of risk management options from members or employees of the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians (NASPHV), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), several State Veterinarians, influenza researchers, state swine extension specialists and the Pork Checkoff's Animal Science, Swine Health and Public Health/Producer Safety Committees.

Following extensive discussion and deliberation of the comments received, and following a conference call with public health and animal health experts, the group has issued the following recommendations to manage risk at swine exhibitions during the 2009 show season. In addition, we have approached the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians and several State Veterinarians to help develop a plan to identify and respond to influenza-like illness in pigs and/or exhibitors at swine exhibitions.

Background: These recommendations were developed by a working group of people involved in swine exhibitions. Input was sought from various stakeholder audiences including public health, veterinary medicine, regulatory veterinary medicine, influenza researchers and other commercial producers. The purpose of these recommendations is to reduce the risk of interspecies transmission of influenza A – H1N1 2009. 

Definitions:

Terminal shows – exhibitions where all animals exhibited are sent directly to slaughter following the show.
 
Breeding shows – exhibitions where the animals exhibited are considered to be breeding stock. The animals may return to their original farm of origin or be sold to a new producer through a sale at the show. The animals exhibited return to a farm for entry into the breeding herd. Standard practice is to isolate and quarantine these animals on-farm for 30 days prior to entry into breeding herd.

Jackpot and other non-terminal market hog shows – exhibitions for market hogs that would not be sent to slaughter immediately following the show. These animals may return to their home premises and/or go to subsequent exhibitions.

High Traffic Shows – events where the general public is urged to attend and to visit the exhibitions resulting in a high volume of direct interaction between exhibitors, swine and the general public. This would include state and some county fairs.

General Risk Management Practices

Human health – exhibitors, and other animal caretakers, that have flu-like symptoms should not be around swine for at least seven (7) days or until a physician has ruled out influenza as a diagnosis

Swine health – pigs should be observed daily for signs of disease or infection. If flu-like signs are observed, a veterinarian should be contacted for diagnosis. Project pigs with clinical signs of any disease or in the early treatment phases for disease should not be transported or exhibited.

Terminal shows – risk management recommendations

Show Committee/Organizers

  • Terminal shows should be held following breeding shows
  • Shows are scheduled so that pigs are not allowed to stay on the show grounds for more than 2 days and that there are no holdovers allowed
  • Show committee to work with show veterinarian, state veterinarian and state public health veterinarian to develop a plan for identification of/response to influenza like illness in pig or exhibitors
  • Measures should be taken to increase separation of spectators from pigs including, if possible, physical separation and signage to discourage close contact.
  • An increased number of hand washing stations, stocked with disinfectant, will be maintained during the exhibition. Signage to encourage use of these hand washing stations should be posted. Hand gel should also be supplied.
  • Animal disposition to packing plants or lockers following the show should be verified.

Exhibitors

  • Producers should work with their veterinarian to determine if vaccination for endemic strains of swine influenza is beneficial. If pigs are vaccinated, withdrawal periods need to be observed.
  • Movement records should be maintained for each pig brought to the show.
  • Producer affidavit to be signed declaring that exhibitor, exhibitor's close contacts, show animal or animals that show pig has close contact with have not exhibited flu like symptoms for the last seven days.

Breeding Shows (and Sales) – Risk Management Recommendations

Show Committee/Organizers

  • Terminal shows should be held following breeding shows.
  • Shows are scheduled so that pigs are not allowed to stay on the show grounds for more than 2 days and that there are no holdovers allowed
  • Show committee to work with show veterinarian, state veterinarian and state public health veterinarian to develop a plan for identification of/response to influenza like illness in pig or exhibitors.
  • Measures should be taken to increase separation of spectators from pigs including, if possible, physical separation and signage to discourage close contact.
  • An increased number of hand washing stations, stocked with disinfectant, will be maintained during the exhibition. Signage to encourage use of these hand washing stations should be posted. Hand gel should also be supplied.
  • Special attention should be paid to barn hygiene and ventilation.
  • Records of animals sold through the sale should be sent to the state veterinarian in the event of a need for traceback.
  • Show committees should work with state veterinarians to increase verification of isolation and quarantine release.

Exhibitors

  • Producers should work with their veterinarian to determine if vaccination for endemic strains of swine influenza is beneficial. If pigs are vaccinated, withdrawal periods need to be observed.
  • Movement records should be maintained for each pig brought to the show.
  • Veterinary health certificates will be:
    • Specific to that show – no multiple event health certificates
    • A veterinary inspection should ideally be conducted within 72 hours prior to animal leaving their farm to attend the exhibition
    • All purchasers must have the animals health papers prior to leaving the show
  • Producer affidavit to be signed declaring that exhibitor, exhibitor's close contacts, show animal or animals that show pig has close contact with have not exhibited flu like symptoms for the last seven days.
  • Animals returning from shows should be isolated in a separate facility, with appropriate biosecurity, and quarantined for 30 days prior to entry into the herd.
  • Animals returning from breeding shows and sales are not to be exhibited at subsequent shows

Jackpot Shows and Non-terminal Market Hog Shows Risk Management Recommendations

  • It is recommended that jackpot shows and non-terminal market hog shows not be held during the 2009 show season.
  • If any non-terminal market hog show is held all risk management strategies for terminal shows should be observed. In addition, pigs should not be allowed to attend a second show within 10 days of being at another show.
  • Movement records should be maintained to track all intra- and inter-state movements. Health certificates should ideally include a veterinary inspection within 72 hours of the animal leaving the farm.

High Traffic Shows Risk Management Recommendations

All recommendations for breeding and terminal shows listed above should be followed. In addition:

  • All exhibitions/shows for market swine at high traffic events should be terminal.
  • The general public should be excluded from areas where breeding swine are housed during the event.
  • Signs of illness in breeding swine should be reported to the show veterinarian.

Risk Management Recommendations for Points Outside of Exhibition Settings

On-Farm Sales Risk Management Recommendations

  • Sellers requires the buyers (and close contacts), and animals within their own herds, have no influenza like illness within 7 days of entering seller's premise
  • Sellers inquire about previous premises visited, health of herd at those premises, and adjust down time requirements between visits.
  • Buyers should shower-in, or wash hands and wear barn specific clothing and maintain separation from the animals.
  • New animals should be isolated in a separate facility, with appropriate biosecurity, and quarantined for 30 days prior to entry into the herd.

Public Sales Risk Management Recommendations

  • Take measures to increase separation of spectators from pigs including, if possible, physical separation and signage to discourage close contact.
  • Increased hand washing stations, stocked with disinfectant, that are maintained during the exhibition are put in place. Signage to encourage use of these hand washing stations is displayed.
  • Stess importance that people with influenza like illness, or those with influenza like illness in their close contacts, should not attend the sale
  • Maintain sales and movement records.
  • New animals should be isolated in a separate facility, with appropriate biosecurity, and quarantined for 30 days prior to entry into the herd.

Transportation Risk Management Recommendations

  • Clean and disinfect trailers and equipment.
  • Ensure that transporter, and other persons handling the pigs, have not had flu-like illness within seven (7) days.
  • Movement records should be maintained to track all intra- and inter-state movements. Health certificates should include a veterinary inspection ideally within 72 hours of the animal leaving the farm.
  • Education/communication for exhibitors who share transport vehicles on the importance of notifying others who shared transport if one pig gets sick.

Weigh, Tag and Validation Risk Management Recommendations

  • To minimize comingling of swine, exhibitors and trailers leaders should develop protocols for self validation
  • If self validation cannot be performed, heightened biosecurity at validation events should be initiated. This would include:
    • Producer affidavit to be signed declaring that exhibitor, exhibitor's close contacts, show animal or animals that show pig has close contact with have not exhibited flu like symptoms for the last seven days.
    • Alternative methods to verify if exhibitor, or pig, is sick at time of verification or if they do not want to attend a group verification
    • Education on biosecurity and need to clean and disinfect trailers and equipment.
    • Conduct event on hard surfaced lot, and provide ample space between trailers. Crew should wear boots and gloves that are changed between each trailer, and any equipment should be disinfected observing contact time required for disinfection.