Northwest Indiana PRRS ARC project: What is success?


Article by:

T. Gillespie, M. Inskeep, M. Ash2014 International PRRS Symposium 

The Northwest Indiana (NW IN) Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) Area Regional Control (ARC) project began in 2009 with a goal to develop a network of producers that voluntarily collaborate to control PRRS virus in a specific region. Growing confidence of participating producers has led to continual growth toward achieving the original goal. Individual producers are realizing how cooperation can ultimately improve the productivity of their farms.

Materials and Methods
Current boundaries of the NW project are from US 421 west to the Indiana/Illinois line and from SR 24 north to Lake Michigan. Each year the project has grown in number of producers, number of pigs represented, and geographical area. In 2010, 38 sites were tested, representing 19,850 sows and 144,705 grow-finish pigs. In 2013, 55 sites participated, representing 35,485 sows and 188,375 finishing pigs. There are currently 8 sites not in the project, representing about 5% of finisher pigs and < 3% of sows and several are small exhibition operations.

Early implementation of PRRS control at individual sites has minimized outbreaks of PRRS in this area. There has been only one break in a negative sow farm since the project began. Testing in the summer of 2013 revealed 21 of the 55 sites were ELISA positive and 11 of the 55 were PCR positive. Currently 21 of 55 sites utilize modified live virus vaccine to help control PRRS on their farms. With ORF5 sequencing, 6 of 11 positive PCRs were determined to be vaccine virus at that time.
Results are reported monthly to one representative from each of the farms/companies that have signed participation agreements. If severe breaks occur between updates, neighbors in close proximity to the new positive farm are notified by phone.

Conclusion and Discussion
Joint meetings have occurred with the West Central Indiana PRRS ARC project in an attempt to find synergies that would strengthen both projects. Also, there are farms in the NW IN PRRS ARC project receiving pigs from out-of-state sow farms that participate in other PRRS ARC projects. The efforts of other projects can only strengthen the efforts in the NW IN PRRS ARC project. Perhaps more important than eradicating PRRS, the NW PRRS ARC project is building trust among neighbors, allowing the sharing of information not only for PRRS, but for other diseases as well. Several times in the past year, health status information has been shared between the participants when PEDV and TEGV outbreaks occurred. This helped neighboring farms develop updated trucking routes and biosecurity plans to keep disease from spreading. It is this crucial communication that will ultimately lead to area regional control not only in NW Indiana, but in area regional control projects across the country and world.