December 2017 SHIC eNewsletter

SHIC’s Initial Near Real-time Global Swine Disease Surveillance System Report Issued

The Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) announces the first monthly global swine disease surveillance report has been issued. This November 2017 report focuses on a trio of high priority diseases – African Swine Fever, Foot-and-Mouth Disease, and Classical Swine Fever – as the near real-time monitoring system is developed and tested. Subsequent reports, beginning in January, will include information about additional, production-affecting diseases.

From the report:

Two areas of concern show up in this month’s reports. The first is an outbreak of ASF in Belarus. Though reported in the press, there has been no official report of the disease in the interim. The second is a large outbreak in the Tyumen region of Russia. Outbreaks in Siberia have the added concern of moving within the region towards the pig dense areas in China. The borders in this region across Russia, Khazakstan, Mongolia and China are uncontrolled in many areas.

Funded by SHIC, the system was developed at the University of Minnesota using a private-public-academic partnership including collaboration with the USDA/APHIS Center for Epidemiology and Animal Health (USDA-CEAH). This first, near real-time surveillance report was a key priority for SHIC in 2017 and its debut has been anticipated by stakeholders looking for relevant, timely data on global swine diseases.

SHIC encourages feedback on the report. “This is the start of our global near real-time swine disease surveillance reporting,” remarked Dr. Paul Sundberg, executive director of SHIC. “We want to make this informative and useful for producers and veterinarians. Please share your thoughts on content, format, and suggestions to make it better.” Email Dr. Sundberg at

While planned to be published monthly, incidents of emerging swine diseases will be communicated immediately, as needed. Experts reviewing the information will use their expertise to score the relevance and importance of each incident to the U.S. pork industry. As conditions may change, so will the relevance scoring.

As part of the ongoing development of the report, collaborators are working on a system to enable individuals to enter their own data and information on international health events that may be considered of interest to US practitioners.

“Having a systematic way to monitor new or emerging diseases around the globe will help keep US pork producers informed of risks. Knowing the changes in risks will spur thinking about how to mitigate them,” remarked Dr. Sundberg.

SHIC Seeks Pork Industry Stakeholders’ Input

Developing 2018 Plan of Work

The Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) continues to prioritize high-impact, urgent return on investment projects to monitor, predict, prepare, and respond to emerging diseases. As SHIC develops its 2018 Plan of Work, they are inviting stakeholder input into upcoming priorities. Contributions to the conversation are requested by December 15, 2017.

Emerging diseases remain the primary concern for SHIC. These include diseases being introduced into the US, such as Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PED) in 2013, or endemic diseases already present but changed in some manner with significant health and/or profitability impacts, such as Seneca Valley A which emerged in 2015.

In seeking input, SHIC hopes stakeholders will share no-holds-barred desires for the industry. “Think big. Don’t be constrained by difficulty or cost in your visioning,” stated Dr. Paul Sundberg, executive director of SHIC. Out-of-the-ordinary suggestions to benefit the health of the US swine herd are encouraged.
Please provide your input for the SHIC 2018 Plan of Work to Dr. Paul Sundberg. Email or call 515-598-4553.

SHIC developed a series of questions to stimulate consideration of projects for their 2018 Plan of Work.

  • What are the most common ways diseases are introduced to your pigs and sows?
  • Within your production systems, how do structure, practices, and the movement of pigs inhibit your ability to quickly limit the impact of an emerging disease?
  • What does the industry need to be able to predict emerging diseases?
  • Is preventing a newly emerging disease realistic?
  • What does the industry need to be able to quickly limit the impact of emerging diseases?

An additional resource for stakeholders can be found in the SHIC 2017 Plan of Work found here. From this plan, several successful projects were launched, including:

  • Rapid Response Program and Training
  • Diagnostic Fee Support Program
  • Updated Swine Disease Matrix
  • National Bio-surveillance System
  • Transportation Biocontainment Protocol
  • Study on Feed Ingredient Transmission of Disease and Pathogens
  • Emerging Disease Communications Strategy
  • Study on Secondary Markets and Disease Proliferation
  • Near Real-Time Global Swine Disease Surveillance System
  • Study on Tool for Senecavirus A Detection
  • Ongoing Monitoring of Global Disease Outbreak

SHIC’s 2018 Plan of Work will be set by the organization’s Board of Directors using input from the industry, personal expertise, and appropriate follow-up to the 2017 Plan. The 2018 Plan of Work will be posted on the SHIC website in January.

2017 SHIC Update

As plans for the Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) in 2018 are developed, it is helpful to review recent progress and success. With key priorities of monitoring, preparedness, and response, SHIC completed several new projects in 2017 to achieve objectives from the Plan of Work.

Progress on 2017 Plan of Work


  • From the Veterinary Diagnostic Lab Data Standardization project, a novel database application of VDL swine test results, termed ‘data warehouses’, is being developed
  • See something – say something? Who do you call? A non-regulatory disease Communications Action Plan is in place
  • Near real-time global surveillance system for monitoring international swine diseases is ready to go
  • Near real-time domestic swine disease monitoring system to generate information useful for economic and animal health decision-making is under development
  • Kansas State University researchers are investigating the use of dust samples to monitor for swine pathogens in U.S. feed mills
  • The Swine Disease Matrix was reviewed and updated, including prioritization of the viruses
  • SHIC joined the Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases – a Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence – and the National Pork Board to hold a workshop to build upon industry and government efforts and develop a road map to improve our national swine disease surveillance right now


  • 2017 Swine Disease Matrix research is delivering antibody detection assays for monitoring for emerging diseases, determining freedom from disease, or defining the extent of disease spread
  • Information about diagnostic tests available for Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) and Chinese variant pseudorabies virus (PRV) reviewed and updated
  • Senecavirus A factsheet updated
  • Investigation showed the potential for viruses to contaminate and survive in feed ingredients – both domestic and imported
  • Now that we know the potential to transmit viruses in domestic and imported feed ingredients, feed contamination risk mitigation research began
  • 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 (FAD), is underway
  • North American standard operating procedures (SOPs) for transportation related biocontainment are being developed
  • Review of the market sow and secondary pig markets to better understand the scope of these markets for better surveillance, biocontainment and other risk mitigation protocols in the future has been completed


  • A national Rapid Response Corps (RRC) is in place, with experts recruited to assist in the process being trained currently
  • SHIC sets aside funds to answer immediate producer questions and needs following introduction of emerging disease
  • SHIC coordinated, and co-funded with the National Pork Board, a USDA research project for diagnostic sensitivity validation of commercial PCR test kits for FMD, CSF and ASF, using oral fluids


  • SHIC drove the VDL standardization project for reporting of swine testing results to completion
  • The Morrison Swine Health Monitoring Project (MSHMP) currently monitors approximately 50 percent of the U.S. sow herd for economically important pathogens with models under development for using the data to predict and guard against disease spread