Influenza season is here

The winter trade show season has begun. Last week was the South Dakota Pork Congress, to be followed by Minnesota this week, Iowa the following and Illinois on February 1. While these shows aren’t as big as they once were, they are still a major social event for the industry.

For many employees of production systems the chance to attend one of these shows is an opportunity to see what the ‘boss’ has been talking about in terms of new equipment and management. Employees come back to the farm with a sense of being part of a bigger industry, rather than just being a worker in a production unit.

The challenge of sending employees to these shows is not only the need to cover for the employee at the site. There is also the concern about biosecurity. Will the employee bring something home that will be detrimental to herd health? While the industry awareness of biosecurity for such risks as PEDv and PRRS is very good, we still struggle with influenza.

Here in Minnesota news reports indicate that we have a growing number influenza cases showing up at medical facilities. This means there is a good chance that there will be virus shedding occurring at the pork shows. Before you send employees to these shows, it might be wise to quickly review hand washing routines to minimize virus spread, etc. You don’t want an employee to come back from the trade show infected with influenza. The risk to the employee and to your herd can be minimized by some easy to follow routines.

Recently I cancelled a site visit because of my coughing following what most likely was an influenza break.

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