Not Too Late for Flu Vaccine

The flu season may be in full force - but the Pork Checkoff is still advising producers, farm personnel and others who have contact with pigs to get the seasonal flu vaccination as soon as possible to help protect human and pig health. Pork Checkoff Director of Producer and Public Health Jennifer Koeman says it's never too late to get a flu vaccination that can help reduce the risk of getting sick and bringing the flu to the farm or workplace. She says it also demonstrates the industry's We Care ethical principle is in action to help protect employees, animals and public health. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends everyone over the age of six-months should be immunized for influenza each year. Koeman also recommends sick-leave policies that encourage workers to stay home when experiencing symptoms of influenza-like symptoms. She notes people may remain contagious for up to five to seven days after getting sick.

At the farm level - good building ventilation and good hygiene will help reduce transmission of flu viruses. To prevent pigs and humans from the influenza viruses of other species - Koeman says producers should look at bird-proofing their buildings, protecting feed from birds and enforcing biosecurity practices - such as the use of farm-specific clothing and footwear.

Lisa Becton - Pork Checkoff Director of Swine Health Information and Research - says it's important to monitor the herd's health daily and contact the herd veterinarian if influenza is suspected. Becton says rapid detection of influenza can help producers and their veterinarians implement appropriate strategies to better manage sick pigs.

For additional general flu-related information - visit www dot cdc dot gov slash flu (www.cdc.gov/flu). The Pork Checkoff has flu information and resources available at www dot pork dot org slash flu (www.pork.org/flu).

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