Hog Farms Battling to Contain Deadly Virus

Wednesday, August 7, 2013
By Paul Martin

By STEVEN YACCINO
NYTimes.com
August 4, 2013

ANNAWAN, Ill. — The outside world is not allowed in a sanitized and isolated pig farm here, not far from the Iowa border.

Visitors must shower before entering, scrubbing from head to toe, trading their street clothes for disinfected coveralls that have never left the premises. Everything inside the temperature-controlled barn housing 3,000 sows has been blasted with antiseptic.

“We do a better job than some hospitals,” said Dr. Matt Ackerman, a veterinarian who works with the farm.

Strict protocols have kept the operation, one of 10 swine facilities run by Great Plains Management, safe from a virus spreading across the country this summer, killing piglets by the thousands and distressing hog producers in 16 states.

But those same precautions have not worked everywhere. A Central Indiana farm that Dr. Ackerman also works with was among the first to lose piglets to the virus in May. “If it gets in, you can’t stop it,” Dr. Ackerman said. “We filled wheelbarrows with dead pigs.”

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