02 December 2016 - Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) is considered to be the swine disease with the largest economic impact for the pork industry at the global level, generating large losses to the commercial sector and also threatening backyard farmers’ livelihoods. To support Myanmar on its PRRS control strategy, FAO ECTAD RAP and FAO ECTAD Myanmar organized two expert missions with laboratory expert Dr Ken Inui (FAO ECTAD Viet Nam) and with Dr Robert Morrison (Professor at the University of Minnesota).
Dr Inui visited Myanmar 11 to 16 September. He visited a pig farm and also reviewed laboratory PRRS test results with technical staff at the Yangon Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. He found that, in general, tests for PRRS were working well. Based on PRRS virus molecular epidemiology, it was concluded that samples analyzed in 2016 probably did not represent a new introduction, but evidenced continued circulation of the strain in circulation since 2011.
Dr Morrison visited Myanmar from 2 to 10 November to review relevant information about the PRRS epidemiological situation and the high-risk farming and marketing practices through a stakeholder workshop and field visits to commercial and backyard farms, as well as slaughterhouses in the Yangon and Mandalay regions.
The stakeholder workshop gathered more than 60 participants from different backgrounds. Besides central and regional representatives of the Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department (LBVD), members of the Myanmar Livestock Federation, commercial and backyard farmers, traders, slaughterhouse and private veterinarians, laboratory staff, as well as members of parliament were consulted during the mission.
Among the components of the National PRRS control strategy, vaccination, animal movements, biosecurity, and zoning approaches to control swine diseases were identified as crucial for controlling PRRS and further discussed in group sessions. The workshop provided the opportunity for participants and experts to share their experience in PRRS control in Myanmar, USA, and China, and discuss on the concerns by stakeholders in using vaccines.
A final debriefing took place at Nay Pyi Taw on 09 November in the presence of Permanent Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture Livestock and Irrigation, Dr Khin Zaw and the LBVD Director General, Dr Ye Tun Win. Dr Morrison provided policy options to the authorities. These included PRRS vaccination in Myanmar, in order to decrease the economic losses associated with the disease; and the importance of improving biosecurity to reduce the incidence and prevalence of PRRS in the country. These recommendations will help Myanmar officials design an effective PRRS control strategy. To support Myanmar’s authorities on the implementation of its new PRRS control strategy, a second mission with Dr Morrison is programmed early in 2017.