2012 PRESS RELEASES
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July 23, 2012
VIRGINIA MAINTAINS PSEUDORABIES FREE STATUS, ALLOWING VIRGINIA PORK TO CONTINUE MOVING FREELY THROUGH THE MARKETPLACE
Contact: Elaine J. Lidholm, 804.786.7686
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) announced today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has certified Virginia’s continuing status as a Pseudorabies Free State. This designation means that Virginia’s commercial swine herds are completely free of Pseudorabies, a disease that can cause weight loss and death in swine. Virginia was first designated Pseudorabies Free on January 1, 1996, and has maintained that status ever since.
The National Pseudorabies Eradication State-Federal-Industry Program is a five-stage program to rid the U. S. of this costly disease, and being declared “free” is the fifth and final step.
“Receiving and maintaining our free status is very important for Virginia for both animal health and economic reasons,” said Dr. Richard Wilkes, State Veterinarian with VDACS. “Pseudorabies Free Status is like a stamp of approval from the USDA that our animals are disease-free. The USDA reviews our test data and epidemiological tracings every year to determine that we are still free of this disease. Because we are able to maintain our free status, Virginia pork producers will continue to enjoy unrestricted movement of their animals.”
Pseudorabies is a disease of swine caused by a herpes virus. It is highly contagious among swine and is occasionally transmitted to cattle, sheep, dogs, cats and wild animals. It is called Pseudorabies because of its rabies-like symptoms; the disease causes high mortality in young piglets and infection during pregnancy usually results in fetal death and abortion.
“Agriculture is Virginia’s largest industry,” said Matthew J. Lohr, VDACS Commissioner, “and livestock is a very important part of the industry. Cattle, poultry and hogs are among are top agricultural commodities and maintaining our Pseudorabies Free status helps keep the industry healthy by allowing unrestricted movement of animals.”