As flu season swings into full gear, producers and those who work with pigs are reminded that it's not too late to get a seasonal flu vaccination. Iowa State University Extension swine veterinarian James McKean said the vaccination helps protect both people and animals.
"Seasonal influenza is making an early appearance in the U.S. this year, so getting vaccinated soon is vital," McKean said.
In addition to getting vaccinated, the use of good ventilation and hygiene practices can help reduce transmission of flu and other viruses on the farm. McKean, who also is associate director of the Iowa Pork Industry Center at Iowa State, said people who are shedding the virus can transmit the virus to animals, so policies for keeping acutely infected humans apart from pigs should be considered. And, because people can remain contagious for up to a week after being sick, it's imperative for everyone over the age of 6 months to receive an annual flu vaccination, he said.
General flu-related information is available on the Centers for Disease Control website at www.cdc.gov/flu and the Pork Checkoff website at www.pork.org/flu.
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