Emerging Disease Information

Emerging Disease Communications Action Plan

To effectively respond to emerging swine diseases, early communication about outbreaks with new or unexpected etiologies is needed.  To facilitate this veterinarians and pork producers must know the actionables and contacts in the event of an emerging disease.  The Emerging Disease Communication Plan will inform them of the process that will follow notification and the resources available to respond.

Confidentiality of producer, veterinarian or site identifiers will be strictly maintained during the initial calls.  Any actions because of those calls will maintain confidentiality to the level requested by the producer or veterinarian unless state or federal swine health regulations dictate otherwise.

Step 1.  Getting initial diagnostics
A disease event with unexpectedly high morbidity or mortality has occurred and there is a veterinarian of record for the event.

  • If the case presentation is consistent with a possible disease of regulatory interest (FMD, CSF, ASF, PRV, Brucellosis, Tuberculosis, etc.) call your state or federal animal health official and follow their instructions.
  • If the case presentation is not consistent with a disease of regulatory interest or diagnostics have ruled out those diseases, satisfy a routine diagnostic workup with the advice of a veterinarian and a VDL diagnostician.
    • If a new or emerging pathogen is found, go to Step 2 and contact an industry association representative.
    • If the diagnostics are unsatisfactory, support for further, follow-up diagnostics may be made available from SHIC.  Go to the SHIC website, www.swinehealth.org, for complete information.

Step 2.  Letting someone know

  • Contact any veterinarian with any one of the pork industry organizations (listed in alphabetical order).
    • American Association of Swine Veterinarians
    • National Pork Board
    • National Pork Producers Council
    • Swine Health Information Center

Step 3.  Organizing and getting full information

  • The person initially contacted will inform the other veterinarians within all the above organizations.
    Confidentiality will be maintained according to the discussion on the initial notification call.

Step 4.  Assessing and deciding if further action is needed

  • A conference call will be held with the producer and/or veterinarian of the case, the veterinarians of the pork industry organizations and subject matter experts as needed, based on the preliminary information.
    • The objective of the call will be to gather important information and come to an agreement on if/what further action is needed.

Step 5.  Evaluating response options

  • Response options as a result of the Step 4 conference call may include:
    • A decision of no response may be appropriate.
    • Further input and follow-up with subject matter experts may be needed.
    • Communication with the state pork association and/or state and/or federal animal health officials.
      • An accredited and licensed veterinarian has the responsibility to report high consequence disease events to the appropriate state and federal animal health officials.
    • Deployment of a Rapid Response Team to help investigate epidemiologically distinct outbreaks.
      • The Rapid Response Team can be on the site within 72 hours of activation by invitation and agreement with the producer and veterinarian of the case.
    • The Swine Disease Response Council may be activated.
      • The objective of the Swine Disease Response Council is to get state-federal-industry recommendations about possible responses to emerging diseases.  More information can be found by contacting the Swine Disease Response Council coordinator at the National Pork Board.



AASV Swine Health Committee Considers SVV

Please download this PDF for some important information about the current incidence of Seneca Valley Virus (Senecavirus A).  For perspective, keep in mind that so far in 2015 we’ve had confirmed SVV from only 20 – 30 cases from across the U.S.  The incidence is low but it is much higher than the 2 or 3 sporadic cases per year that is our historical experience.  The Swine Health Information Center is funding research and epi investigations to help us understand more about this virus and be better prepared and informed if we continue to see new cases.

Better preparedness with research and information is important but only one part of what we need.  NPPC, NPB, AASV and SHIC have been working to draft plans for proposed industry responses to new or emerging diseases.  One of the components of that response plan is a panel of producers and veterinarians to discuss and recommend to state animal health officials and USDA appropriate responses based on the information available about a new or emerging disease.  In short, whether a new or emerging disease is local, regional or national and whether we have the knowledge and tools to rapidly and effectively respond.  Unfortunately, SVV has shown up before that body could be formed.

In its absence, the AASV Swine Health Committee was asked if they would help inform responses by reviewing the available information and decide the scope and distribution of SVV already in the U.S.  They also were asked to make recommendations about responses.  That is what is attached.

There are two take home messages.  First, they have defined the SVV incidence this summer as a “Type 3” status – national in scope with limited knowledge and tools.  The details of a Type 3 status are in the AASV statement.  That’s important to help put into context discussions about the effectiveness of local, specific responses like holding pigs from movement while waiting for them to stop shedding the virus.

The second is their repeated recommendation that pigs with illness or active SVV lesions should not be marketed until the lesions at least start to resolve.  We can’t afford to have a packing plant shut down because of SVV being mistaken for FMD and stopping processing and commerce.  At the same time, we can’t also become complacent and assume that active lesions are SVV, thus not alerting state or federal officials, whether on the farm or in the packing plant.  Doing so puts pork producers, veterinarians and all of our industry at risk.  Discussions are taking place with USDA and the packing companies about appropriate communications and responses about pigs that have had SVV, are healing, have had a FMD-negative test and are going to be presented to the market.

This isn’t “news”.  It’s as it always has been.  But there is heightened risk of complacency if we continue to find SVV after checking for FMD and that risk is unacceptable and avoidable.

This is an opportunity to underscore the message of careful observation and immediate reporting of clinical signs or out of ordinary events.  The National Pork Board has multiple resources, including barn posters and other written and visual materials.  They’d welcome sending you these materials to help with your effort.

Download the full document