The Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) focused on urgent return-on-investment projects to monitor, predict, prepare, and respond to emerging diseases in 2017. Developed around SHIC’s key priorities, several new projects included in the organization’s 2017 Plan of Work were completed for the benefit of the health of the US swine herd including a communications action plan, near real-time global and domestic disease monitoring systems, development of effective, efficient surveillance systems, Rapid Response Program, Corps, and Training, and much more.
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.
Continuing to deliver relevant and useful tools, programs, and resources, SHIC’s 2018 Plan of Work will be set by the organization’s Board of Directors using input from the industry and appropriate follow-up to the 2017 Plan. The 2018 Plan of Work will be posted on the SHIC website in January.
With increasing reports of porcine sapelovirus (PSV) from veterinary diagnostic labs, along with anecdotal evidence from practitioners and producers, as evidence, the Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) revised the priority of the virus on the Swine Disease Matrix from an average risk score of 1.0 in May 2017 to a score of 4.0 in December 2017. The SHIC Monitoring and Analysis Working Group agreed PSV should be rated like its other enterovirus cousins on the Matrix which serves as a watch list for current disease conditions domestically and globally. SHIC is actively monitoring disease conditions and responding to evolving concerns with the goal of protecting the health of the US swine herd.
Dr. Bailey Arruda, assistant professor and diagnostic pathologist at the Iowa State University Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, said, “Diagnoses of viral poliomyelitis appear to be increasing in frequency, especially compared to past decades per conversations with diagnosticians and practitioners. Porcine sapelovirus is detected with some frequency in the central nervous system (CNS) tissue of pigs with atypical neurologic signs and non-suppurative poliomyelitis in cases submitted from broad geographical areas.”
SHIC monitoring of CNS disease syndromes and other sources of information have resulted in the following clinical observations about cases.
Although diagnostic lab data provides some information concerning what is occurring in the field, it might not be a true representation of clinical disease in the field if affected farms do not submit samples to their veterinary diagnostic lab. Recurrence of the disease on affected farms remains a key concern. PSV has been detected in CNS tissues submitted to veterinary diagnostic labs from farms across the Midwest and Southeast.
Moving PSV up on the SHIC Swine Disease Matrix will bring to light the impact of PSV CNS disease is having on the US swine herd, in Dr. Arruda’s opinion, and begin the process to provide the prevention and mitigations protocols and tools producers need to avoid economic loss and welfare issues.
Basic research, field investigations, animal inoculation studies, and diagnostic assay development to more fully investigate PSV may result. Questions include:
The Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) announces two monthly global swine disease surveillance reports have been issued: November 2017 and December 2017. These initial reports focus 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 November 2017 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.
From the December 2017 report:
African Swine Fever continues to be a major concern in Eastern Europe and Russia. Forty new cases have been found in wild boar around Warsaw, Poland, the furthest west that this disease has been seen in Poland. This has heightened concern of onward transmission to large commercial farms in western Poland and even East Germany.
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 email@example.com.
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.
The Swine Health Information Center’s Rapid Response Program, designed for epidemiological investigations of new emerging, transboundary, and endemic swine diseases, is well underway. Carried out by the Rapid Response Corps, a team of specifically-trained industry experts to analyze the patterns, causes, and effects of health and disease conditions in affected herds, the Program is being tested in the field investigating new and isolated PED outbreaks.
Training for Corps members began in August 2017. To date, 28 professionals have signed the Memorandum of Understanding to become part of the team and 18 have participated in the online training, now ready to engage in testing of the Program. SHIC will arrange funding to support Corps members and their work, including travel expense reimbursement and appropriate consultation fees when called to action.
In early December 2017, Rapid Response Program was beta-tested to find and fix any issues in implementation. For the test, two cases of PED without obvious pathways of introduction were investigated. Dr. Derald Holtkamp, associate professor at the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine and project leader for SHIC’s Rapid Response Program, said the test was a great opportunity to discover what aspects of the Program worked and where improvement is needed.
After Dr. Holtkamp was notified of the new PED cases in Iowa, per the emerging disease communication plan, a quick conference call with the herd veterinarians supported the value of a Rapid Response Team investigation to help find biosecurity weaknesses leading to the outbreaks and to test the Rapid Response Program’s system. The lead investigator assigned to the case, Dr. Montse Torremorell from the University of Minnesota, a veterinarian who signed a memorandum of understanding and completed online training to be a member of the Rapid Response Corps, as well as an assistant investigator, Gustavo Lopez, conducted the investigations.
Based on the beta-test, some of the initial conference call protocols will be modified. Also, the online training program is a good start but some hands-on practice in the field or workshop setting will help the Rapid Response Corp members get more familiar with the forms and SOPs to gather information.
Following the investigations, the lead investigator wrote an executive summary of findings. “This document gives us the first indication of what specific risk events the producers and veterinarians should be concerned about,” Dr. Holtkamp explained. The subsequent full report written by the lead investigator details all the strengths and weaknesses found during the investigations.
“The program will continue to evolve to make sure it is as good as it can be. We will attempt to have opportunities for Rapid Response Corps members to practice and be better prepared for when we’re actually called to do this in an emerging disease situation,” he said.
The resources gathered for the Rapid Response Corps online training are available for all, regardless of interest in becoming a team member. By registering, you can access the training modules which serve as an excellent aid for developing your own rapid response protocol.
The Rapid Response Program is designed to cover the US with six defined regions . Due to high interest and participation, no additional Corps members are needed in Region 3 at this time. Interested parties in Regions 1 and 2 are encouraged to go to the online training site, register, and become part of the Corps. Multiple people from each of the six regions are helping so there is the option to accept or reject the invitation to participate in a particular outbreak investigation. The six regions are small enough so Corps members from within the region can drive to outbreaks and be on the site within 72 hours of permission being given by the affected producer.
Contact SHIC to Learn More
To learn more about the SHIC Rapid Response Program and to volunteer for the Rapid Response Corps, contact Executive Director Dr. Paul Sundberg (firstname.lastname@example.org) or the program coordinator, Dr. Derald Holtkamp (email@example.com).
Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in 2017. As part of the recovery effort, many pets were rescued and brought to the United States. This included two pot-bellied pigs which prompted the Swine Health Information Center (SHIC), National Pork Board, National Pork Producers Council, and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians to ask questions about related risks to the health of the mainland US swine herd on producers’ behalf. USDA-NEIS responded to the inquiry.
In their reply, NEIS said, “Movement of swine, including pot-bellied pigs, from Puerto Rico to the mainland United States is considered interstate movement. The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is a part of the United States and is considered as a state under federal regulations. Swine transported interstate is not an international import. Therefore, a federal permit is not required, and the movement is regulated by each state. Brucellosis and pseudorabies are the main diseases of concern for the interstate movement. The United States, including Puerto Rico, is free of classical swine fever (CSF).”
SHIC is watchful for events such as these and asking questions for the benefit of US pork producers to ensure the health status of our national herd is not negatively impacted by such events, even those done under the guise of disaster relief and recovery.