Management & internal Biosecurity for the Control of PRRS


Mercedes Sebastián Lafuente

Sometimes, pig technicians face a breeding farm that is supposed to be stable to Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus (PRRSV) (phase 2 with viral circulation). And suddenly, pigs with no symptoms of any reproductive kind become PCR positive.

One of the possibilities is that viral recirculation is present in the farm, so we must check and work on management and biosafety&biosecurity measures.

For the control of PRRS we will work both at phase 1 and phase 2 levels


If PRRSV is circulating among the breeders, the first objective will be to stop viral circulation. We can use different strategies: vaccination and correct adaptation&monitoring of the replacement pigs.

After birth of non-viremic piglets, we will need to implement good management practices (McRebel*) and internal biosecurity on the farm to finally wean PCR negative animals.


What are the management and internal biosecurity measures that can be improved on the different farms?

McRebel* handling

In farrowing, McRebel management is all those management measures aimed at reducing the transmission of PRRSV and other secondary pathogens among piglets.

These measures are aimed at maximizing the number of piglets remaining with their mother, so that each litter behaves as a unit managed in an All In-All Out system.

Main factors to take into account in McRebel management:

Ensure correct colostrum intake of the piglets

The development of hyperprolific genetics makes the right colostrum intake a basis for ensuring the piglet survival in the first days of life.

One of the most widely used techniques is the “sequential colostrum intake” that is, in those litters where there are more piglets than functional breasts, it is necessary to take turns, thus ensuring that the weaker piglets ingest enough colostrum.

To ensure survival, each piglet needs to consume 160-180 g of colostrum/kg of body weight

Insufficient colostrum intake results in weak piglets that usually die on the first day of life either from starvation or crushing.

Conversely, piglets provided with sufficient amounts of colostrum have higher growth rates and better immunity.

However, sometimes there is a lack of importance given to properly colostrum intake

It is important to transmit to the staff the importance of this basic pillar, so that we can guarantee that the piglets will take properly the colostrum, especially in the first 12 hours of life when the concentration of immunoglobulins as well as the intestinal permeability are higher.


Avoiding excessive movements between litters

One of the most common mistakes in farms is to perform excessive movement of piglets the first 24 hours of life.

It is important that piglets only move to occupy the available breasts per sow and is not recommended to group per sizes.

In the weekly birthing batches, the litters are in equal number and size, but sometimes this handling is done in such a way that farmers end up moving a big number of piglets.

We must always prioritize that the maximum number of piglets stay with their mother.


Regarding the surplus piglets in the week of births, there are two systems of handling:



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