Senecavirus A detected at pork processing plants

Senecavirus A (Seneca Valley Virus) gives pigs lesions surrounding their mouths, snouts and hooves. | File photo
Senecavirus A, which used to be a rare virus found in U.S. pork production, has increased during the last year, with confirmed cases in pigs at two different slaughter plants in Iowa in July.

Chris Rademacher, a senior clinician in veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine from Iowa State University, has used these two cases as examples that pork processing plants need to be more aware of vesicles (also called blisters) on their animals.

“When producers get ready to market animals, we want them to walk the barn and specifically look for vesicles,” Rademacher said. “The blisters may be present even though the animals may not be lame.”

After finding the virus, federal inspectors enforced a temporary quarantine of the pigs with the virus. The quarantine lasted until the virus had ended.

Senecavirus A (Seneca Valley Virus) gives pigs lesions surrounding their mouths, snouts and hooves. Typically, these symptoms aren’t fatal or long-lasting. This virus is not infectious for humans; the pork is still safe for humans to eat.

Despite this, pork producers still need to consider the virus a serious threat. Senecavirus A symptoms mimic other foreign vesicular disease, like foot-and-mouth disease. As of today, foot-and-mouth disease has never been found in the U.S.

Nonetheless, having a virus that is similar could significantly impact international trade for the U.S., making Senecavirus A an important economic issue.

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