Influenza Season

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It is not too late to get your flu vaccination. National Pork Board director of swine health information and research Dr. Lisa Becton is featured in this edition of Pork Pod with details on this severe influenza season and the impact on people and pigs.


Don Wick


Dr. Lisa Becton, Director of Swine Health Information and Research, National Pork Board




Don Wick: 00:01 From the Pork Checkoff in Des Moines Iowa. It’s Pork Pod! Pork Pod, a look at the hot topics in today’s pork industry. The Pork Checkoff is working for you through various forms of research, promotion, and consumer information projects. I’m Don Wick speaking on behalf of the Pork Checkoff. And today our guest is Dr. Lisa Becton who is the director of swine health information and research for the National Pork Board. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention influenza activity is still on the rise. This is a very severe flu season that we’ve had year in the winter of 2017 2018. Dr. Becton is with us. Is it is it too late? Can we still be thinking about getting a flu vaccination?

Lisa Becton: 00:44 You know it’s never too late to consider that as something as a preventive measure against flu. For anybody that’s ever had the disease you definitely don’t want to go through that. And so as we assess both our worker health and our pig health it is really important to go ahead and get vaccinations and for the pig side to work with your veterinarian on what specific vaccine is best for your herd.

Don Wick: 01:08 So we’ve heard a lot about the vaccines this year that they weren’t as effective with the strain that we have. Is that any influence on what’s happening out there?

Lisa Becton: 01:20 You know it does have an impact because a lot of times vaccines whether they work you know a high percentage of the time or not even if there is a potential limit to the match. It still helps prevent the clinical signs and symptoms of influenza. And the same goes when we assess our Pig Health. And so having influenza vaccine is just one of those tools that we have to keep our pigs healthy and to keep our workers healthy as well.

Don Wick: 01:48 It’s always good to have those practices in place for employees that they know enough to stay home those kind of things.

Lisa Becton: 01:55 That is certain. Because again we you know we want to have happy and healthy workers and having a work policy or a sick policy is really important because it allows the workers to stay at home get healthy before they come back to work. And it also helps the pig health because we do know there’s instances where you know sick people can transmit influenza to pigs and also that sick pigs can potentially transmit influenza to humans. So we want to make sure that there are procedures policies things in place like vaccination and sick leave that can help reduce the chance of illness on either side.

Don Wick: 02:33 So on the pig side there’s vaccinations available there as well?

Lisa Becton: 02:37 There are there are several different types of vaccines that cover different strains. And so a lot of producers work closely with their veterinarian to match up what vaccine would cover best in their herds. And so a lot of times they’ll do sampling of pigs and try to match what vaccines are a best fit.

Don Wick: 02:57 We know important biosecurity as in the swine industry in this time of year again reinforces that.

Lisa Becton: 03:04 It sure does. Because it’s not only influenza that can transmit. So there’s things like PURs, porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, PED. So just taking a proactive stance to prevent diseases from coming into your herd goes a long way to maintain good herd health. We’re not looking so much on the human side but again just reinforcing our We Care principles that protecting Pig Health, protecting human health, vaccine and sick leave policies really fit into those things of protecting health for everybody.

Don Wick: 03:39 Some good advice from Dr. Lisa Becton from the National Pork Board. Thank you for listening to this edition of Pork Pod. For more information on this topic or the Pork Checkoff itself. Visit