The Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) began operation as a 501(c)(3) corporation on July 4, 2015. The mission of SHIC is to protect and enhance the health of the United States swine herd through coordinated global disease monitoring, targeted research investments that minimize the impact of future disease threats and analysis of swine health data.
The National Pork Board, National Pork Producers Council and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians have each appointed two representatives to the SHIC Board of Directors. Three at-large producer representatives are also members of the Board. The Board approved a 2018 operating budget, a 2018 Plan of Work and a plan for FDIC insured investments, that is modeled after that of the National Pork Board, for the money more than the yearly operating budget.
A Monitoring and Analysis Working Group and a Preparedness and Response Working Group have been formed to provide program oversight and decision-making. Each are actively meeting to fulfill their respective objectives.
Swine Health Information Center 2018 outreach
There has been personal outreach to pork producers, veterinarians, allied industry and state and federal animal health officials to foster collaboration, develop projects, increase understanding of SHIC and its mission and inform them about the research and programs. Their feedback has helped focus and refine SHIC responsibilities, research and programs. Presence and participation in meetings with international organizations has helped to monitor swine diseases and issues around the world.
Progress on the Swine Health Information Center 2018 Plan of Work
- The publication of the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Assay Catalog provides diagnosticians at our veterinary diagnostic labs, who are working every day with swine health case submissions, pertinent information about the 17 new PCR tests funded by SHIC, including contact information of the experts for questions about availability and use.
- 2018 research continued to fill in identified preparedness gaps for Viral Matrix priority pathogens:
- An oral fluids PCR test for Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV) infection in swine has now been developed for US veterinary diagnostic labs.
- Newly released research sponsored by SHIC gives the industry the ability to detect and differentiate the majority of field strains of PCV3 and PCV2.
- Analysis of veterinary diagnostic laboratory data obtained over the last two years will determine how closely certain clinical signs and pathologic lesions are associated with the presence of PCV3 and the amount of the virus found in each case.
- SHIC research led to the creation of the first influenza PCR for animals that detects and differentiates between Influenza A, B, C and D with one test. The developed assay has wide application for diagnosis, monitoring and surveillance of influenza in swine, bovine, avian, other animals, including humans upon clinical validation.
- We can now discern diagnostically between classical and high path variant PRV with a single, highly sensitive and specific PCR test. The assay was validated on nasal swabs, oral swabs, whole blood, serum, and tissues
- SHIC-funded research conducted at Iowa State University resulted in the development and validation of a porcine kobuvirus (PKV) real-time reverse transcriptase PCR (rRT-PCR) to detect strains of PKV circulating in US swine.
- Research on Swine Acute Diarrhea Syndrome Coronavirus (SADS-CoV), a coronavirus variant emerging in China, focuses on the development of a diagnostic triplex PCR that gives diagnostic laboratories the tool for PED, PDCoV and SADS-CoV detection in one test, saving producers testing diagnostic fees.
- Following multiple outbreaks of African Swine Fever (ASF) in China, continued spread of ASF in Bulgaria, Romania struggling to control the virus and the first ASF cases discovered in Belgium, SHIC revised the priority of African swine fever (ASF) on the Swine Viral Disease Matrix, moving ASF from third on the Matrix to second.
- To go along with SHIC’s prioritized list of endemic and foreign swine viruses in the Swine Viral Disease Matrix, a Swine Bacterial Disease Matrix has been developed.
- The Swine Health Information Center (SHIC), National Pork Board, National Pork Producers Council, and American Association of Swine Veterinarians jointly authored and offered three important resolutions individually addressing African swine fever (ASF), classical swine fever (CSF), and pseudorabies virus (PRV) diagnostics and surveillance during the US Animal Health Association (USAHA) annual meeting.
- SHIC co-funded, with the National Pork Board and USDA, a USDA research project for analytic specificity validation of commercial PCR test kits for FMD, CSF and ASF, using oral fluids. The outcome of the project will provide ‘surge capacity’ testing of oral fluids to validate herd disease status and support continued movement of disease-free pigs during or after an outbreak.
Monitor and Mitigate Risks to Swine Health
- International disease monitoring reports are created based on the systematic screening of multiple official data sources, such as government and international organization websites, and soft data sources like blogs, newspapers and unstructured electronic information from around the world. With high interest in the movement of African Swine Fever, the reports are currently being released bimonthly.
- To investigate the opportunity for foreign swine pathogens to enter the US related to international breeding stock conveyances, a review is characterizing US breeding stock companies’ international biosecurity practices.
- A new Senecavirus A (SVA) outbreak was seen in Brazil during 2018 and reported via the AASV e-letter and the SHIC monthly e-newsletter.
- Complexities in designing a quality project and difficulties in identifying collaborators for first points of concentration and transport biosecurity studies prevented implementation of a project during 2018. Continued investigation of transport biosecurity is proposed for the 2019 SHIC plan of work.
- A method to test bulk feed products and how to apply it to monitoring shipments for pathogen contamination has been funded by SHIC and is currently being researched.
- Options to mitigate feed pathogen transport and transmission using Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls and/or blockchain are being investigated.
- SHIC and the National Pork Board have collaborated directly with USDA Ag Research Service on Plum Island, USDA-APHIS and other key researchers to support studies to determine the minimum infectious dose of foot and mouth disease (FMD) virus needed to infect pigs via feed ingredients using normal feeding behaviors.
- A meeting of stakeholders, including representatives of USDA, FDA, universities, industry organizations, producers, the feed processing industry and SHIC, was held to review current government policies and regulations and to make recommendations about research to help reduce the risk for pathogen transmission via feed and feed ingredients.
- Risk mitigation research is testing several commercially available feed additives that may be added to feed during milling or manufacture to neutralize or reduce the amount of these pathogens in feed and help mitigate the potential risk of transport.
- At the Kansas State University high biosecurity lab, researchers are working directly with ASF, CSF and PRV to determine the potential for survival in feed and feed ingredients under a shipment transboundary model as well as assessing tools for mitigating the risk of virus transport in feed and feed ingredients.
- Researchers are investigating using dust samples to monitor for swine pathogens in US feed mills. There is potential for the findings to lead to development of a diagnostic laboratory panel of assays where a single submitted swab of feed mill dust could be analyzed for multiple feed-based bacteria and viruses – a low-cost tool that could be used to help address feed safety.
- Swine industry groups including SHIC, National Pork Board, National Pork Producers Council, and American Association of Swine Veterinarians developed a list of questions related to feed safety for producers to ask of their suppliers.
- Current SHIC-funded research says feedstuffs coming from facilities with no or unknown biosecurity are safer to use at least 78 days after a born on date that prevents additional contamination for bagged or sealed feedstuffs and 286 days after a born on date for bulk feedstuffs that can’t be sealed or shipped in a way to prevent additional contamination, and when stored just below room temperatures.
- In collaboration with SHIC and the other industry organizations, the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) has developed a tentative working definition of biosecure feed and feed component manufacturing facilities.
- SHIC and AFIA are funding an additional, more comprehensive investigation into the half-life of viruses, to update the 78 days holding time information. Updated information on holding time after a born on date will be communicated in early 2019.
- A 2018 published study analyzed the risk of African swine fever (ASF) and classical swine fever (CSF) being introduced into the US through prohibited swine products carried by air passengers and identified locations and time periods at higher risk so preventive and mitigation measures could be implemented. The combination of the 2018 ASF epidemic in China and the increased travel in and from China may change the estimate of risk. The SHIC and the National Pork Board are co-funding a project with the University of Minnesota to update this risk estimate.
- SHIC, National Pork Board, National Pork Producers Council, and American Association of Swine Veterinarians have asked for international travelers to report if they are not diverted for secondary screening after returning from overseas travel and declaring that they’ve been on farms or in contact with animals. The information will be given to DHS Customs and Border Protection to improve protection from foreign swine disease introduction.
Improve Swine Health Information
- A literature review was completed for each of the 31 pathogens whose SHIC factsheets have not been recently updated. This helps ensure the information in the fact sheets is accurate and up to date.
- SHIC is continuing to support the Morrison Swine Health Monitoring Project (MSHMP). MSHMP currently monitors approximately 50% of the U.S. sow herd for economically important pathogens. In the short term, this project contributes to the control and prevention of important swine diseases and in the longer term, builds capacity for data collection, organization and providing capability to facilitate response to emerging pathogens.
- Analysis of MSHMP’s data helps to control and prevent swine diseases. Projects during 2018 found:
- When controlling disease spread, it is possible to calculate the ideal places in a system to start control strategies to more efficiently slow disease spread, and these same calculations can help target the ideal locations for disease monitoring in a system.
- PRRS-related biosecurity practices can be prioritized by assessing the number of production events in facilities of all sizes and production styles that had a direct impact on outbreaks.
- SHIC has funded a thorough study of the National Poultry Improvement Plan, its associated organizational structure and operations, and industry participation and execution across the various segments of the US Poultry Industry, in order to assess the potential for establishing a similar program for the US Swine Industry.
- The domestic disease monitoring “Swine Disease Reporting System” uses veterinary diagnostic lab test results reported from Iowa State University, University of Minnesota, South Dakota State University and Kansas State University. The monthly reports include analysis of PEDv, PDCoV, and PRRS data and the incidence and causes of central nervous system syndromes in pigs.
- SHIC coordinated a meeting of the project coordinators of independent and voluntary swine health and producer information sharing programs around the country. Hosted by The Ohio State University Veterinary School faculty, the purpose was to discuss successes and challenges of individual programs in Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and the Morrison Swine Health Monitoring Project.
Surveillance and Discovery of Emerging Disease
- A Senecavirus A (Seneca Valley Virus or SVA) outbreak investigation, funded by SHIC with in-kind contributions from the National Pork Board, reports about an incident where so many pigs needed to be held for SVA investigation in the abattoir it threatened plant operations.
- In 2018 SHIC funded further diagnostic work into understanding a hemorrhagic tracheitis syndrome that has been moving east to west across Canada.
- Current statistical methods for selecting diagnostic laboratory sample submission size, i.e., how many pigs and which pigs to sample, worked well for traditional farms, but does not work for modern farms because of industry evolution since they were developed. A project is underway, focusing on technical aspects and experimental design related to the development of more efficient and cost-effective surveillance systems, with an emphasis on preparing the swine industry for detecting and eliminating emerging and/or foreign animal diseases.
Responding to Emerging Disease
- Reports of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) triggered a request for the SHIC Rapid Response Program to help identify pathways of PEDV introduction onto affected farms. SHIC initiated Rapid Response Team investigations to test the program as well as assist affected producers by identifying high risk events preceding the outbreaks.
- Following the Rapid Response Teams’ investigations of the PEDV affected farms, the National Pork Board organized an interactive review with the participating veterinarians to examine outbreak reports and identify outcomes and action items. This SHIC-NPB collaboration helped to further develop the overall goal of building and maintaining industry preparedness in the event of an emerging or foreign animal disease outbreak.
Swine Health Information Center Communications
- The SHIC website
- The SHIC website has been organized to facilitate intuitive use, increase professionalism of web presence and facilitate organization. Google Analytics of the website traffic was used to measure impact of media efforts. All media releases are to communicate to the end audiences of SHIC timely and relevant information, as well as the activities of the Center.
- There were over 16,000 individual sessions during 2018, compared to over 11,000 in 2017. Most visits were from the US, Canada, Mexico and the UK with a total of 46,844 page views (23,455 in 2017).
- The SHIC eNewsletter
- A monthly SHIC eNewsletter publication schedule continued in 2018 with additional updates being sent following the outbreak of African Swine Fever in China. More than 3,000 contacts are in the newsletter database. “Percent opens” for the eNewsletter was 34.4% (Constant Contact Benchmark is 11/0%) and “percent clicks” through to articles on the SHIC website was 14.8% (Constant Contact Benchmark is 7.2%).
- Press releases
- There were fewer press releases in 2018 vs 2017 because key media have now subscribed to the SHIC eNewsletter for up to date, monthly information. For press release distribution, general emails were sent to 235 ag news outlets and individual emails were sent to the top five pork press editors for each press release. Nearly 100 percent of the press releases were picked up by these national editors covering the US pork industry.