Saturday, September 29, 2007

Blue Ear Disease (PRRS) Outbreak in Asia

There was a great article (here) in the Seattle Times last week about another outbreak of Blue Ear Disease among pigs in China. It begins with the story of Lo Jinyuan (pictured left), who told the reporter regarding his pigs that "before we knew something was wrong, they were all dead." Blue Ear Disease, also known as Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS), has apparently infected at least 290,000 pigs, with a still as yet unknown number of deaths. An outbreak that began in May 2006 killed an estimated one million pigs, pushing pork prices up 87 percent and contributing to rising inflation throughout China.

Most media coverage notes the difficulty of getting accurate information about this epidemic in China. It seems that the Chinese authorities have only been really forthcoming when it was alleged that they were responsible for the spread of Blue Ear Disease to Vietnam and Myanmar. According to a recent article in Reuters, China denies being the source of the outbreak in these other nations, noting that the strain of PRRS they've discovered is 93% similar to the strain that has caused problems in the U.S. since the 1980s. Indeed, PRRS has been a major problem for the American pork industry. The National Pork Board estimates that PRRS costs a whopping $560 million annually in the U.S. alone. You can learn more about this porcine virus here at The Pig Site and at the Pork Board's PRRS website.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home