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Animal Health

NIFA Renews Commitment to Teams that Tackle Three Serious Animal Diseases by Integrating Research, Education, and Extension

The NIFA National Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program, Animal Protection and Biosecurity, renewed funding in 2008 for three multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional Coordinated Agricultural Projects:

Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS)

PRRS, which first appeared in the United States in 1986, is caused by a virus and costs the United States $580 million each year by causing reproductive failure in female pigs, reduced growth efficiency and pneumonia in nursing pigs, and potentially premature death in swine herds. The disease spreads easily among herds and is found worldwide and in all major swine producing areas of the United States.  A new strain of highly pathogenic PRRS has been found in China and Vietnam and is implicated as the primary cause of Porcine High Fever Disease, resulting in the death of large numbers of swine. Renewal of the PRRS project responds to the urgent need to make sure the right tools are available to keep this foreign strain from affecting the U.S. swine population. The agency will invest $4.8 million over the next four years to reduce animal suffering and decrease economic losses from PRRS.

More Porcine Reproductive Respiratory Syndrome information.

Avian Influenza (AI)

In 2002, an Avian Influenza (AI) outbreak in Virginia resulted in over $130 million in industry losses. Outbreaks in the eastern United States and Texas in early 2004 required rapid control efforts and caused millions of dollars in losses. AI continues to threaten the commercial poultry industry and the concern of an avian influenza pandemic in the human population remains.  By renewing the Avian Influenza Coordinated Agricultural Project (AICAP) with another $5 million for three years to study the prevention and control of this viral disease, the United States is better prepared to protect the food supply should the disease arrive in the country.

More Avian Influenza information.

Johne’s Disease

Johne's disease is a serious intestinal infection caused by a bacteria most often seen in ruminant animals (such as cattle, sheep, goats, llamas). Symptoms include chronic diarrhea, weight loss, decreased milk production, reduced fertility, and eventually death. Current estimates indicate that up to 70 percent of U.S. dairy herds, and a smaller percent of beef herds, are infected with the disease. Johne's disease accounts for more than $200 million in economic losses each year. The continuation of this project with $4.8 million over the next 4 years will help develop practical solutions to control the disease and ensure a safe and healthy food supply and stable economy.

More Johne’s Disease information.



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