The Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) 2019 Plan of Work and budget were approved by the Board of Directors on January 25, 2019. “When SHIC was formed, the goal was to develop an entity that helped protect the US pork industry by working in concert with the National Pork Board, National Pork Producers Council, and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians. I am extremely proud that we have not only reached our goals, I believe we have exceeded our goals,” remarked SHIC Board President Dr. Daryl Olsen. Those objectives are captured in the organization’s mission statement: the mission of the Swine Health Information Center 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 2019 Plan of Work will direct SHIC’s activities in pursuit of those priorities, building on 2018 accomplishments. SHIC remains nimble and responsive moving forward. “The 2019 Plan of Work continues to build on monitoring and analysis of global disease threats, identify opportunities to mitigate the risks to our US herds, and continue to support our ability to identify and respond to emerging disease challenges,” stated Matthew Turner, SHIC Board Member.
Improving transportation biosecurity was a consistent theme brought up by producers when putting together the Plan of Work and is a priority for 2019. SHIC-funded and -directed projects will look for innovative, cost-effective ways to stop pathogen transfer at the farm.
In 2019, SHIC work will take next steps to add to the body of knowledge about potential risks of feed transmission of pathogens. SHIC will also support research into ways to mitigate those potential risks. USDA and FDA say there isn’t enough information to consider pathogen transport via imported feed products a risk, because there is still little objective information. Part of the 2019 Plan of Work is to quickly get data and information to support an objective risk assessment that will prioritize where prevention needs to happen. Also, if contaminated feed component products are imported, those pathogens could be spread within the country during feed processing. Understanding how pathogens are distributed in the mill and cost-effective procedures to prevent distribution or disinfect the facilities will be investigated.
SHIC will continue its Global and Domestic Swine Disease Monitoring Report projects. The value of the Global Swine Disease Monitoring Report was evident during the beginning of the epidemic spread of ASF last year. Timely, accurate, and credible information needs to be shared. The Domestic Swine Disease Monitoring Report takes advantage of the SHIC-funded standardized disease reporting from the major swine diagnostic labs. Looking at a coordinated disease reporting system will help ensure that an emerging disease will not go undetected. And quick detection is key to quick response.
Support for the Morrison Swine Health Monitoring Project (MSHMP) will be ongoing in 2019 as well, with the goal of helping to make it stronger. MSHMP helps provide the information and communication infrastructure for pork producers to be able to quickly respond to emerging diseases.
“The mission of SHIC to protect and enhance the health of the US swine herd is critical to the future of US pork producers. Since inception, the clear goal has been to create and maintain a resource that is able to respond to the needs of our industry quickly and with adequate resources to make a difference. SHIC has contributed significantly to the health of the swine herd by supporting projects that are critical to our ability to prevent or respond to diseases such as reporting diseases circulating in other countries and threatening us, improving our emerging disease diagnostic capabilities, coordinating the major swine veterinary diagnostic labs and trying to close the windows of opportunity for another disease to enter the country,” concluded Turner. “As global threats continue, we need to quickly evolve or perish.”
SHIC’s 2019 Plan of Work directs the investment made by US pork producers, through the National Pork Board’s initial financial support of the organization in 2015, to protect and enhance the health of the US herd. The SHIC Board of Directors considers this investment while setting priorities for the coming year as part of its ongoing stewardship.
Proactive mitigation of high-risk pathogens in feed with feed additives could be a way for us to protect North American herds from porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV), porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS), as well as foreign animal disease. The Swine Health Information Center sponsored research to investigate feed additives with potential to function as cost-effective mitigants. Action based on scientific knowledge is within closer reach, thanks to Drs. Diego G. Diel of South Dakota State University and Scott Dee of Pipestone Applied Research. In their study, a select group of additives, though none completely inactivating viruses, did show promising efficacy against high-risk pathogens potentially in feed. Investigators envisioned and studied potential mitigation periods prior to embarking to the US or upon arrival at the mill and worked with AFIA to select candidate mitigants.
Based on the outcome of previous feed survival studies, investigators selected highest risk combinations of viruses and ingredients for testing.
|Virus Tested||Surrogate Virus||Feed Ingredients Tested|
|Senecavirus A||Foot and Mouth Disease||Soybean meal, lysine. choline and vitamin D|
|PEDV||N/A||Soybean meal, lysine, choline, vitamin D|
|PRRSV||N/A||Soybean meal, DDGS|
|Bovine herpesvirus type 1||Pseudorabies Virus||Soybean meal, soy oil cake|
Although none of the feed additives tested completely inactivated the pathogens, reductions in viral titers on all pathogens studied were observed with mitigants containing various medium chain fatty acid blends, such as Captisure from Kemin as well as Kansas State University), organic acid mixtures (such as Activate DA from Novus) or formaldehyde plus propionic acid (SalCURB, Kemin). These results demonstrate that specific feed additives have the potential to reduce viral contamination levels in feed. Investigators suggest that further studies to assess mitigator mechanism of action are warranted. In addition, assessing the efficacy of these mitigants in pigs following natural feed consumption of contaminated and mitigated feed in conjunction with viral load and product inclusion rate is planned or underway
Chemical mitigation of feed alone may not be able to prevent potential transmission of pathogens through feed. Storage time and importation of feed ingredients from known and trustable sources should be considered and utilized to safeguard the US swine industry from unwanted viral pathogens endemic in other regions of the world.
Last month, the Swine Health Information Center shared information on a new outbreak of Seneca Valley A (SVA) in Brazil with an on-the-ground update from Dr. Gustavo Simao, Agroceres PIC in Brazil. He reported SVA was found in pigs of all ages with very severe lesions observed. Mortality rates were approaching 30 percent and work was underway to determine if this is a new, mutant SVA or reoccurrence of the outbreak experienced in Brazil in 2014-2015. Dr. Simao has provided an update this month – note the underlined text as you read more in this updated article – explaining test results and procedures.
The Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) started operation in July 2015. In August that year, a new, national outbreak Seneca Valley A (SVA) began in the US. Retrospectively, Brazil had gone through an SVA outbreak during the late fall and winter of 2014-15 (the summer season in Brazil). Thank you to Dr. Daniel Linhares, ISU, for notifying of this new Seneca Valley A (SVA) outbreak in Brazil and to Dr. Gustavo Simao, Agroceres PIC in Brazil, for offering this on-the-ground update.
Gustavo M R Simão
Veterinary Services Manager
In the past two months, some pig slaughterhouses in Brazil, located in the states of São Paulo, Goiás, Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul, have had their slaughter schedules temporarily suspended by the government’s Official Inspection Service, due to vesicular lesions. According to the current legislation in Brazil, all clinical cases with vesicular lesions, either in farms or slaughterhouses, must be immediately communicated to animal health authorities, because, until proven otherwise, FMD must be primarily considered. The shutdown of meat packing units and farms lasts 3 days on average, until negative serological results (ELISA test) are verified for the samples submitted to the National Agriculture and Livestock Laboratory (LANAGRO). In the first few weeks of the investigation, samples were also screened (ELISA test) for Vesicular Stomatitis (VS) and Seneca Valley (SVA) as a differential diagnosis at LANAGRO. For SVA, all samples were negative, and for VS, there were a few positive cases on some of the initial screening serology, but the diagnosis was not confirmed.
Initially, most of the cases occurred at finishing sites, moving to nurseries and finally farrowing sites (smallest number of cases). The vesicular lesions were usually very severe, such as completely detached hooves, and healing was delayed, sometimes taking more than 10 weeks. There are reports of farrowing sites with suckling piglet mortality rates approaching 30%.
Approximately 4 weeks after the first reports and with an increasing number of cases all over the country, the Official Animal Health Service was instructed by the Ministry of Agriculture (MAPA) to collect samples of not just serum but also vesicular fluid and affected skin at suspected farms. PCR screening for VS and SVA was initiated, with positive results for SVA and negative for VS. Also, other laboratories (non-official) and Universities received samples from the same inspected farms and had the same positive results for SVA. The virus was also found through PCR tests in feed mill supplies (non-official) such as mixed meat and bone meal, soybean mean and feed for finishing pigs at the farm. These results were from collected samples at a farm feed mill in already contaminated production system. The hypothesis is that contamination came from farm to the feed mill and not from ingredients (cross contamination). The collections were carried out without experimental design, and therefore, not recognized by the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture. Research will be conducted to better understand how the feed mill is being contaminated.
The affected farms are being instructed to immediately block the entry of animals for at least 6 weeks, and mass exposure of the entire herd using feces of piglets with diarrhea (farrowing sites), and/or oral fluids collected from animals with snout lesions.
RNA samples extracted from the vesicular fluid will be sequenced in an attempt to elucidate the similarities between the current SVA and the virus from the 2014/2015 outbreak. However, one question that is still open is whether there is a new mutant SVA circulating in Brazil, with greater pathogenicity, or if this was just a fall in immunity of the Brazilian herd after these 3 years between the two outbreaks.
As African swine fever (ASF) raced across China and into western Europe in 2018, the Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) collaborated with several industry partners to monitor and react. With studies pointing to feed ingredients as a potential vehicle for transmission of the virus, SHIC encouraged the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) as they developed biosecurity guidelines which they have now updated. The guidelines are the result of AFIA coordination with representatives from the pork industry, government, and academia for the past several months.
“AFIA’s biosecurity guidelines were originally written to help safeguard manufacturing facilities following 9/11, but were always meant to serve as a ‘living document’ that could be updated based on what we know about new and emerging threats,” said Paul Davis, PhD, AFIA’s director of quality, animal food safety and education. “While some threats aren’t at the back door yet, it doesn’t mean we can leave the door unlocked. Our industry must be vigilant about continually improving its biosecurity programs for the protection of animal and human health.”
The revised biosecurity guidelines are based on new information regarding how viruses can potentially spread throughout the feed manufacturing process. The updated guidance provides recommendations for how facilities can better set-up an onsite biosecurity program, more thoroughly evaluate and verify their suppliers, work with their shippers, and train on and communicate best practices to all facility personnel and visitors. Of note, the updated guidance also includes a definition for “biosecure,” given there is currently no regulatory definition for the term, yet many segments of the industry have been requesting to only source products from biosecure facilities.
Apart from updating the industry’s biosecurity guidelines, AFIA is also working with its public charity, the Institute for Feed Education and Research, on supporting research in this area. One such project is aimed at analyzing potential risk mitigation measures and testing the effectiveness of proposed holding times for feed specifically in response to the recent ASF outbreaks. South Dakota State University is leading this research project, which is being co-funded with the Swine Health Information Center. The project partners should have preliminary results for review later this year.
When returning to the United States after visiting a farm or being in contact with animals in a country (or countries) with African swine fever (ASF), or any other foreign animal disease, you should declare this information to US Customs and Border Patrol via written form, airport kiosk, or verbally. Then you should be diverted for an ag secondary screening by an ag specialist. The Swine Health Information Center (SHIC), National Pork Board, National Pork Producers Council, and American Association of Swine Veterinarians are asking you to report your experience if you are not diverted for secondary screening with return to the US following overseas travel.
If you are NOT diverted for secondary screening after declaring you have been on a farm or in contact with animals in an ASF or other foreign animal disease positive nation, please email the following to firstname.lastname@example.org:
Dr. Sundberg will be aggregating this information and the organizations will share with US Customs and Border Patrol to help identify any weaknesses in their protocol and systems.
Thank you for your help as we continue to implement steps designed to reduce the risk of ASF spreading to the US swine herd.
In 2013, when pork producers faced an outbreak of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV), the US pork industry put a renewed emphasis on farm biosecurity. Today, the US pork industry has aligned its efforts to be better prepared to quickly respond to foreign animal and transboundary production disease by creating the National Swine Disease Council (NSDC). The council is comprised of key industry leaders from six distinct areas of swine science expertise. NSDC leadership includes representatives from the National Pork Board, the National Pork Producers Council, the North American Meat Institute, the Swine Health Information Center (SHIC), the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as well as state animal health officials.
“The biggest risk we face is any foreign animal disease entering the US,” said Dr. Paul Sundberg, executive director, Swine Health Information Center. “As an industry, we have decades of response experience and are well prepared for any number of swine-specific diseases, however a new or emerging disease can threaten animal health and welfare, as well as public health. While it is virtually impossible to prevent every disease from entering the US, the formation of this council will allow us to respond even more quickly thereby mitigating risk to herd health through fast action and response.”
A newly emerging disease can also disrupt US pork exports and commerce, negatively impacting pork producers and their businesses. The combined expertise of the participating organizations will center on rapid response to diseases that threaten the US pork industry.
“The National Pork Board is well positioned to respond having invested producer dollars over the past 30 years to establish research priorities and response protocols,” said Dr. Dave Pyburn, Pork Checkoff senior vice president of science and technology. “In the end, it comes down to producer awareness and education, which is our area of expertise. We have outstanding programs in place and pig farmers are committed to on-farm biosecurity procedures.” Additionally, 90 percent of farms have a Premises Identification Number, according to a November 2018 producer survey.
Starting with the formation of the council and identification of member participants, the producers and their organizations will turn their focus toward providing recommendations in collaboration with state and federal animal health officials, and other industry stakeholders, to respond to emerging swine diseases. Any disease could potentially threaten herd health and negatively affect the US pork industry. This focus specifically includes:
Recommending policies for emerging and foreign animal diseases and collaborating with animal health officials, regulatory agencies, and stakeholders to increase understanding of disease and quick response; and, most importantly,
Promoting acceptance of recommended actions throughout the US pork industry.
The council will rely on subject matter experts to advise and inform on every aspect of disease management. That may include forming short- and long-term project teams to make, review, and implement appropriate recommendations.
“There has already been a significant amount of work done to identify and assess foreign and disease outbreaks and non-regulatory disease outbreaks in the US,” said Dr. Harry Snelson, American Association of Swine Veterinarians. “But we can always improve coordination in assessing and responding. The NSDC will facilitate that strategy.”
Rapid and effective response to disease outbreaks is the council’s top priority. Understanding what diseases exist in the world and keeping them out of the country continues to be the most important task in terms of risk management as those diseases pose a significant threat to US pork production.
“Each of the six organizations has deep experience working together, and we each look forward to even more collaboration in the years ahead,” said Dr. Liz Wagstrom, Chief Veterinarian, National Pork Producers Council. “The end game for each of us is to improve disease detection, assessment, containment and eradication. Only then can we rest knowing that the nation’s pork supply is secure, the animal agriculture and food production industry is stable, and public health is protected.”
The Swine Health Information Center’s Domestic Swine Disease Monitoring Report shows both porcine reproductive and respiratory virus (PRRSV) and porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PED) are being reported at expected levels. PRRSV has been stable since October 2018. And while PED has been at expected levels, there has been a slight increase in reported cases over the last three months. There was a high detection of porcine deltacoronavirus in the second week of January 2019. And porcine circoviruses (PCV2 and 3 combined) and Bordetella bronchiseptica have both been diagnosed at higher levels than the previous two winter seasons.
In the Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) February Global Swine Disease Monitoring Report, the first porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PED) outbreak in Alberta, Canada, is reported. This report also includes information on the UK African swine fever (ASF) risk assessment process; the review team offers an explanation of the different risk levels in the program. In addition, an ASF outbreak in a second Asian country, Mongolia, was found in the north-central region. The first foot-and-mouth (FMD) outbreaks reported in South Korea and Morocco since March 2018 and November 2015, respectively, are noted. Details of an FMD outbreak in South Africa’s FMD-free zone are also included.