An Iowa State University veterinarian is urging pork producers to keep an eye out for Senecavirus A in their pigs, as more than 100 cases have been confirmed in seven states.
The virus first appeared in the 1980s, but typically doesn't number more than a handful of cases each year nationally.
Chris Rademacher, senior clinician in veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine, said Senecavirus A causes blisters around the mouth, snout and hooves of the pig. On its own, it is not usually fatal, doesn't render the pork inedible, and can't be transferred to humans. It does, however, mirror the symptoms of several more serious pig viruses that also appear as blisters, but have so far been kept away from the American pork industry.
Though he says there's no cause for panic, Rademacher urged any pig farmers who notice signs of the virus on their pigs to contact their local veterinarian immediately.
“The biggest concern with this uptick in Senecavirus is that producers may get numb to these symptoms and quit reporting them, since this disease isn’t a huge economic threat,” he said. “That would be a mistake because the symptoms are so close to those foreign viruses that we need to stay vigilant.”
According to the National Pork Producers Council, the U.S. produces approximately 23 billion pounds of pork from 112 million pigs each year.