LE MARS, Iowa (KCAU) – The warm weather blanketing Siouxland has a lot of people enjoying the outdoors, this week. In Plymouth County, fair organizers are hoping that translates into strong attendance, but one area of the fair, the swine are being carefully monitored.
Nearly 40 countries around the world are battling African Swine Fever. The virus has not made it’way into the U.S. and organizers of the Plymouth County Fair want to keep it that way.
“Like, if this one was contaminated and it’s been with these other ones, by the end of the day if they have nose to nose contact and just being that close to each other they will be sick in probably just hours,” said Justin Steen a fair participant.
Steen works on his families hog farm. He is aware of how dangerous the African Swine Fever could be to his family’s livestock.
“Practice biosecurity, changing clothes, changing boots, making sure everything gets vaccinated, doing a good job power washing,” said Steen.
African Swine Fever is a highly contagious virus, that’s why Justin’s family has decided not to bring their hogs to the Plymouth County Fair this year.
“We don’t know what other people bring in to the fair and we don’t want that to end up at our farm,” said Steen.
But the hogs being shown at the fair are under strict supervision.
“As we unloaded there was a vet walking around checking pigs / making sure everything was healthy so we didn’t get a sick pig, ” said fair participant Emma Brennan.
Veterinarians are on hand to examine each hog, carefully looking for any signs of African Swine Fever.
“So they don’t have sores on their feet, that would be a sign of a problem, another sign would be ears that are changing colors and look necrotic, blue colored or red-colored,” said Zachary Westhoff a Plymouth County Veterinarian.
Hog farmers at the fair are asked to speak up if they have seen anything out of the ordinary.
“Sometimes they’re tired sometimes they’re happy they seem pretty content right now,” said Megan Brennan a fair participant.
“We need to start practicing and doing better cleaning and staying safe and staying aware,” said Steen.
Researchers have been trying to find a cure for African Swine Fever, for more than 40 years, however, they have not been unsuccessful. Pork producers in Iowa are taking measures to keep the illness out of the state and country through biosecurity efforts.