Don’t you love the way they name diseases?

We have Kawasaki’s disease, named after Dr. Kawasaki who described it. We have Legionaire’s disease, named after the Legionaire convention where it was first noticed, and we have the various pox diseases that cause…pox or pimples.

Well, Blue Ear disease is a slow disease that makes pigs tired and sickly, and early in the course of the disease their ears turn blue.

China is having an epidemic that is killing pigs; they tried to keep it quiet, but the news leaked out. It is Blue ear pig disease, AKA Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS).

PRRS doesn’t attack the pig’s lungs like Influenza, it attacks one of the white blood cells that ordinarily kill other diseases, and so the pig ends up dying of those other diseases, like pneumonia. It is a slow disease, and the R for reproductive is because piglets often die before birth and are stillborn, or are born weakened and quickly die.

Although PRRS hits the white cells, it is not the same as HIV or AIDS which hits the T cells of the white blood cells.

You can go to the LINK for more information if you are interested. However, the disease does not affect humans, which is the good news.

The bad news is that wind can spread it one mile, infected pigs can spread it, and shoes that have barnyard dirt can spread it.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket. 


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