Anyone involved in the farm – from family to farm personnel – should get an annual flu vaccination to help protect human and pig health. By getting a seasonal vaccine, producers and pig farm workers can reduce the risk of getting sick and bringing influenza to the farm.
The flu season typically runs from October to May. This may create scheduling challenges, but those are minor issues compared to a herd becoming infected. Producers may also decide to limit entry into facilities during flu season to workers and essential service personnel only.
Reducing influenza virus transmission at the farm can be helped by proper building ventilation and hygiene like washing hands, showering in and out, and using farm-specific clothing and footwear. Other biosecurity measures that help prevent cross-exposure of influenza viruses between species include bird-proofing buildings and protecting feed from birds.
Pigs should also be vaccinated against the swine influenza virus and herd health monitored daily. Herd veterinarians should be contacted immediately if influenza is suspected. The herd veterinarian may recommend treatment and/or isolation of the affected or at-risk animals. Work with the veterinarian and state animal health authorities before moving any animals. For public health safety, contact a medical care provider and inform them of your contact history if anybody who’s had contact with ill pigs or in their households develops flu-like symptoms.