INDIANAPOLIS — As fall is upon the state, Indiana State Veterinarian Bret Marsh took time to answer questions about health issues facing the Hoosier livestock industry.
In terms of the livestock industry and animal health, as well as the Board of Animal Health’s involvement, how did the 2019 Indiana State Fair go?
From the Board of Animal Health’s perspective, the 2019 fair season went well. We did not receive any reports of influenza activity in swine barns.
BOAH has been encouraging counties and exhibitors to take steps to minimize the opportunity for spread of influenza in public settings. We are hoping that some of the practices — such as reducing the amount of time swine are commingled in fair barns — is having a positive effect.
As fall 2019 is here, what are some issues that are facing the Hoosier livestock industry?
As we close our summer and move into the fall, a couple of diseases are making an appearance regionally. In the northern part of the state, eastern equine encephalitis has been a growing concern in recent weeks This is a mosquito-borne disease that affects horses as week as people.
We are reminding horse owners to get their animals vaccinated and do as much as they can to reduce mosquito populations by eliminating potential breeding sites. That means emptying out sources of standing water, like old tires and stock tanks.
At least three horses in Elkhart County have tested positive, and we suspect more cases are out there because Southern Michigan has had a number of cases in horses, deer and human in recent weeks.
In the central and southern parts of Indiana, epizootic hemorrhagic disease has been diagnosed in several counties. This virus, which can be fatal to deer and cattle, is spread by biting midges. The disease tends to emerge in late summer months and can be very devastating, particularly to wild and farmed deer populations.
What is the latest update on the African swine fever and how might it affect Hoosier swine producers?
We are in preparedness mode right now. Most producers we communicate with are very concerned and are asking about ways to be prepared and prevent the disease, especially as African swine fever continues to spread in Asia.
The Indiana Board of Animal Health team is focusing on right now is preparedness for African swine fever through a five-step protocol we refer to as “Securing Indiana’s Pork Supply.”
Based on the national Secure Pork Supply plan, BOAH has adapted the Secure Pork Supply to meet Indiana’s needs based on lessons learned in 2016’s highly pathogenic avian influenza event.
Our website provides details about the five steps on the national, as well as a progress report of how many commercial operations have completed the components.
Our staff has been busy with producers’ meetings, with nine completed and at least another three on the calendar. We are working very closely with integrators, individual producers and key partners to ensure our pork sector is as prepared as possible.
Nationally, we are seeing allied industries, like feed suppliers, looking at their processes and practices to minimize risk. Veterinarians are keenly aware of ASF and are trying to educate clients.