Keeping People and Pigs Healthy in the Summer of COVID

This is a unique summer as we monitor the spread of COVID-19. National Pork Board Director of Producer and Public Health Dr. Heather Fowler says there are also biosecurity practices to understand when working with animals.

“Thankfully, a lot of the recommendations for preventing disease transmission, whether we’re talking amongst pigs or people, a lot of those are the same. So, it includes hand washing, not touching our nose, face or mouth, especially with dirty hands, making sure that we’re not sharing equipment. Doing some of those basic public health and biosecurity practices can really protect us from a lot this particular summer which is really important with that added risk of COVID-19.”

With county fairs, livestock expositions and jackpot shows, efforts are being taken to educate exhibitors about biosecurity.

“And that’s why we really, as the National Pork Board, updates some of our posters. So. Hopefully they’ll see those posters up and about at those various events again, to drive home those key pillars on biosecurity practices and preventing disease transmission. As an industry we have that additional guidance on COVID-19 that we folded into our posters and we have one that’s unique to COVID-19 to drive that home. That’s where you’re going to hear about keeping your distance of at least six feet. That’s where we’re going to recommend wearing a face mask if you can’t. We understand at some of these gatherings it can be tough. And keep in mind that all of these recommendations come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the CDC. So, really just reinforcing them and getting that out to our producers.”

Resources are available for those individuals participating in show pig events.

“For COVID-19 specifically, we have our landing page, pork.org/covid19. We also have for our show pig specific outreach document, pork.to/showpigs. So, again, you’ll have all that information. It covers biosecurity, it covers COVID-19 and that reminder to just prevent disease transmission. And, thankfully, a lot of those practices are really basic. Hand hygiene, so washing our hands, making sure that we are not touching our face, for the disease transmission side for Humans. And then for animals, remembering those key biosecurity practices, not sharing equipment and the like.”

Additional precautions are advised, but Fowler emphasizes pork is safe. COVID-19 is spread person-to-person and there is no evidence to suggest pigs are impacted.