WASHINGTON (B)--U.S. Department of Agriculture will not be able to completely eradicate the pseudorabies virus that plagues U.S. swine despite to earlier predictions by the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service, an APHIS official told Bridge News March 15.

"We still have active infection in Iowa and other states...It won't be stamped out this year," APHIS Administrator Craig Reed said.

About 60 cases of pseudorabies have cropped up unexpectedly in Iowa in the past several weeks, taking USDA and industry by surprise. The outbreaks spurred local lawmakers to propose mandatory vaccinations for some state regions.

Pseudorabies is a swine disease that can affect cattle, horses, dogs, cats, sheep and goats. It is caused by a herpes virus, and can cause reproductive problems, including abortion, still births and even occasional deaths in breeding and finishing hogs. APHIS has said previously that eliminating pseudorabies will reduce producer losses and open additional export opportunities for U.S. pork and swine.

USDA has allocated $120 million so far in fiscal 1999 and 2000 to compensate farmers for the destruction of infected hogs. About $25 million still has yet to be spent on the eradication program, but more than that will be needed, Michael Dunn, a USDA undersecretary for regulatory programs said today at a House appropriations subcommittee on agriculture.

Reed, in testimony before the subcommittee on agriculture, said, "Pseudorabies costs U.S. pork producers over $30 million annually in testing, quarantine and eradication activities."

He went on to promote the progress APHIS has made in helping cure the swine epidemic, saying only 224 hog production areas remain under quarantine conditions, a considerable decline from the 1,305 areas in the beginning of 1999.

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