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Blue-ear pig disease, more formally known as porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, is a virus affecting domestic pigs across the United States and beyond. While there are several strains of the virus which differ slightly in makeup and contagiousness, the symptoms of PRRS are distinct and often noteworthy. The two most common manifestations of the virus are reproductive failure in full-grown pigs and respiratory illness among young pigs. Mature swine will show infertility, have stillbirths, or otherwise produce immunocompromised piglets. These young pigs are susceptible to secondary infections, but they often present with difficult respiratory symptoms, such as labored breathing, a loss of appetite, and, as its common name suggests, discoloration throughout the body, including blue ears.

If a PRRS outbreak occurs, there are several damage control and further precautionary measures which can be taken to prevent its spread. Multiple trusted zoonotic biotechnology companies have produced safe vaccines to control the spread of PRRS, with companies like Ingelvac and Zoetis being notable in their vaccine production. The shots can be administered at any point in the outbreak, but are ideal to be administered as soon as an infection is suspected among gilts or sows.

Given the transmissibility and high variation rates, many swine experts recommend implementing more rigorous preventative hygienic measures to stop the spread of PRRS or other zoonotic diseases before they can begin to affect livestock. A study done by Zhenbang Zhu et al. in 2019 focused on controlling the spread of PRRS by using chlorine dioxide, a broad-spectrum disinfectant commonly used to attack viruses and parasites. Zhu et al. performed an experiment using chlorine dioxide, as they wanted to explore options beyond vaccination in controlling the spread of PRRS. The team found that chlorine dioxide stops the spread by attacking the first stage of the virus life cycle at the cellular level, concluding that the compound “is an efficient agent and potently suppressed PRRSV infection in vitro” (Zhu et al., 2019).

Beyond the impressive findings of the 2019 scientists, chlorine dioxide can generally be a helpful tool in preventing viral outbreaks among swine or other livestock. By treating the animals’ drinking water with chlorine dioxide, using fumigation of the compound to disinfect pens and crates, and otherwise implementing the product for sanitation purposes, livestock controllers can immensely benefit from using chlorine dioxide in their swine facilities. PureLine, an industry expert in chlorine dioxide disinfection and sanitation, is trusted by a number of livestock partners across the United States. To find out more about how PureLine can prevent outbreaks of viral diseases like PRRS in your farm or facility, fill out the form below.


Works Cited

Zhenbang Zhu et al. (2019). Chlorine dioxide inhibits the replication of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus by blocking viral attachment. Infection, Genetics, and Evolution, 67, 78-87. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.meegid.2018.11.002

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