Podcast: Jordi Baliellas on using tongue tip tissues for PRRS monitoring

18-07 | |
Podcast: Jordi Baliellas on using tongue tip tissues for PRRS monitoring

Some may have already noticed that Boehringer Ingelheim and Pig Progress are happy to cooperate on the third season of the well-known podcast series, ‘Meet the Expert’. Every 2 weeks, a well-known guest from the animal health business will share new and in-depth thoughts about relevant pig health topics.

In this 1st episode of the 3rd series, the editor of Pig Progress, Vincent ter Beek, introduces Jordi Baliellas, a veterinarian at Spain’s Grup de Sanejament Porci (Pig Hygiene Group), for a discussion around pig tongues and their relevance to the PRRS virus.

Grup de Sanejament Porci is a non-profit organisation that aims to provide tools to improve the health of Spanish swine farms. The organisation’s 10 veterinarians visit and assess farms to help farmers improve biosecurity, and the laboratory helps with the diagnostics of swine diseases.

A new and effective surveillance

In 2018, Baliellas received an award from Boehringer Ingelheim for his work on a new method for the active surveillance of PRRS virus. His work involved the use of the tip of a pig’s tongue to detect the presence of the PRRS virus.

Tongue tip samples (about 2-3 cm from the tip) are collected from a pig in the first 24 hours after its death, stored in frozen conditions, and can be used to monitor the presence of PRRS virus on farms, even in low prevalence scenarios. This method can be used using samples from piglets during the suckling period or even in nurseries and finishing units. Good quality sequences can also be determined.

In this episode, Baliellas also discusses the potential of this method for other pig diseases and viruses, and what his expectations are for its uptake.

Don’t want to miss any episodes? Just subscribe to the entire series on your favourite podcast app.

Natalie Berkhout Freelance journalist