SHIC Finalizes Bacterial Swine Disease Matrix to Guide Focused Look at Related Risks

The pork industry has spent millions to better understand viruses, however, it is often bacteria that kills the pig. In addition, current biosecurity practices are primarily devised to keep viruses out and potentially fail to address the endemic nature of bacteria in a herd. To go along with the Swine Health Information Center’s (SHIC) Swine Disease Matrix, a prioritized list of endemic and foreign swine viruses, a Bacterial Swine Disease Matrix has been developed. This new tool will guide a focused look at the US pork industry’s highest bacterial risks, while SHIC continues to remain focused on emerging viral pathogens. Both are important tools and part of SHIC’s mission to protect and enhance the health of the United States swine herd.

The bacterial matrix and related information will be leveraged as it is used and applied by USDA, National Pork Board, National Pork Producers Council, American Association of Swine Veterinarians, veterinary diagnostic labs, and more to help consideration of bacterial pathogen priorities and importance. As the matrix is refined, the process will determine what the industry knows about the bacteria as well as identify knowledge gaps – what needs to be studied. Resulting information will be used to guide action to combat the consequences of bacterial disease as well as funding for further study and research. The bacterial matrix also enables searching and focus of SHIC’s domestic disease monitoring program to see if any of these bacteria are moving or emerging.

SHIC invites practitioners and other scientists from related disciplines to review the Bacterial Swine Disease Matrix Top 10 Bacteria (below) and provide their input by emailing SHIC Executive Director Dr Paul Sundberg at [email protected]. Commentary, opinion, and other constructive input will help perfect the matrix, increasing its relevance and application.

Top 10 Bacteria on the SHIC Bacterial Swine Disease Matrix

Development of the Bacterial Swine Disease Matrix started with a literature review to identify bacteria known to infect and be a pig health risk. A group of experts convened to establish criteria to rank bacteria with bold type noting high priorities in subcriteria:

The criteria and list were sent to a panel of expert bacteriologists and diagnosticians. Each independently gave their individual scores. Scores were averaged and the bacteria ranked from those averages.  Finally, SHIC’s Monitoring and Analysis Working Group then reviewed and discussed the ranking.

SHIC used the original Swine Disease Matrix to prioritize research, diagnostic development, and educational efforts and offers the bacterial matrix to research funding agencies for the same purpose. It will also be used to further refine and develop the SHIC domestic disease monitoring program by helping to focus monitoring on high priority or emerging bacterial diseases.

Funded by America’s pork producers to protect and enhance the health of the US swine herd, the Swine Health Information Center focuses its efforts on prevention, preparedness, and response. As a conduit of information and research, SHIC encourages sharing of its publications and research for the benefit of swine health. Forward, reprint, and quote SHIC material freely. For more information, visit or contact Dr. Paul Sundberg at [email protected].