More than 200 participants met Dec. 7-8 in Chicago for the 2013 North American Symposium, hoping to share latest research on one of the pork industry's costliest diseases.
The Pork Checkoff sponsored the event, which is tied to the International PRRS Symposium.
"The main goal of this conference is the exchange of knowledge between some of the world's foremost authorities on PRRS so that key research can move forward as quickly and efficiently as possible," said Dr. Lisa Becton, the Pork Checkoff's director of swine health.
"The Pork Checkoff's ultimate goal is to see how research can be applied at the farm level to help curb this devastating disease," she said.
According to previous research by Iowa State University, the disease costs the U.S. pork industry $664 million per year, or $115 per sow.
The meeting focused on the latest discoveries related to PRRS and associated disease syndromes, including porcine epidemic diarrhea virus. Checkoff-sponsored speakers discussed PEDV, PRRS surveillance, development of a PRRS outbreak investigation, roles of PRRS virus proteins, PRRS virus antibodies and nutritional management of PRRS-infected herds.
Checkoff-funded research, presented by Dr. Thomas Burkey of the University of Nebraska, focused on how PRRS affects pigs all the way to market weight. The ongoing research showed a decrease in average daily gain and average daily feed intake early in the pig's life from which the pigs were not able to recover through compensatory gain later in life. Tissue accretion also was reduced 15 to 20% all the way to market weight. Burkey said continued research was needed to find how to specifically feed pigs that are PRRS-positive.
"We're excited to continue to sponsor this kind of meeting that serves as a major venue for PRRS research," Becton said. "Because PRRS continues to harm our nation's swine herds, we will continue to work on finding innovative solutions at every level of production."