The Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) is collaborating directly with USDA Ag Research Service on Plum Island, USDA-APHIS, National Pork Board, and other key researchers to helping understand possible pathways to introducing FMD into the US. The goal is to find open windows for FMD to gain entrance and close them.
This research will determine the minimum infectious dose (MID) of foot and mouth disease (FMD) virus needed to infect pigs via feed ingredients using normal feeding behaviors. Simultaneously, this project will look at the effectiveness of possible mitigants being added to the feed to help neutralize the virus.
Part of previous research showed the potential for FMD to be transported via feed ingredients from China to the US through surviving the 37-day trip duration. This work used Seneca Valley A virus as a surrogate for FMD and suggests the ability for FMD to survive in multiple feed components including soybean meal, DDGS, lysine, choline, and vitamin D for the time necessary for transpacific passage to pig rearing regions. And past studies have shown pigs are highly susceptible to oral transfer of FMD when dosed under laboratory conditions.
To date, no study has looked at the dose needed to infect a pig via feed, using normal feeding behaviors. And the collaborations will enable the direct use of FMD instead of having to use a surrogate. Successful completion of the project will provide critical knowledge pertaining to the risk of introduction of FMD into the US pig production system by imported feed components as well as potential mitigation of that risk.
Quick detection is necessary for a quick response. While Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) is endemic in Asia and the Pacific, many countries like the United States don’t have and don’t want this disease. If JEV infects a naïve herd, the mortality rate of infected piglets is close to 100 percent and 50 to 70 percent of sows experience reproductive failure. Partially funded by the Swine Health Information Center (SHIC), researchers at the Kansas State Biosecurity Research Institute (KSBRI) asked if the virus would be sustainable and detectable in the North American pork industry.
In this first-of-its-kind study, the KSBRI team showed from Culex mosquitos to domestic pig susceptibility, North America has all the components for JEV to circulate and survive if introduced. Thanks to SHIC’s contribution to this research, an oral fluids PCR test for JEV infection in swine has now been developed for US veterinary diagnostic labs.
What Is JEV?
JEV is a different flavor of flavivirus. Pigs, alongside viremic birds, are considered the main amplifying host capable of infecting Culex mosquitoes that can carry the virus. It was originally thought JEV needed mosquitoes to move virus from pig to pig. However, oronasal pig-to-pig transmission was shown in laboratory pigs in 2016 and in domestic pigs in 2017. And this most recent K-State study also showed viral RNA present in tonsils at 28 days post infection demonstrates the possibility of persistent infection in swine.
What Can We Do to Proactively Monitor for JEV?
While an introductory event involving JEV has yet to happen in the US, K-State researchers recommend increased international and possibly local surveillance of the virus through diagnostic methods. SHIC encourages pig veterinarians to check out the JEV Fact Sheet for infection presentation and signalment. Keep it in mind in those difficult cases with high piglet mortality or reproductive failure.
Early detection is critical to early response. The Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Assay Catalog provides diagnosticians at our veterinary diagnostic labs, who are working every day with swine health case submissions, pertinent information about the 17 new PCR tests developed, including contact information of the experts for questions about availability and use. The recent publication of the catalog for diagnostic laboratories demonstrates how far the pork industry has advanced in ability to test for emerging diseases.
The catalog has been sent to veterinary diagnostic labs in addition to being posted on the SHIC website. Additionally, the catalog summarizes the research behind the test development and covers technical background information including sample types and analytical and diagnostic sensitivity and specificity.
From evaluating risks via the SHIC Swine Disease Matrix and assessing our current diagnostic needs to be able to quickly identify these pathogens, to funding the development of tests, SHIC has led the pork industry to an additional level of readiness which puts the US industry on a different playing field than it was on prior to SHIC’s inception.
The Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) collaborated with other industry organizations to develop an emergency communication protocol in the event of new or emerging disease issues. All of the stakeholders involved in developing this communications protocol realize diagnostic work and caring for affected pigs will be producers’ and veterinarians’ first priority. Equally as important is safeguarding the health of the US herd which may be at risk, creating need for the Emerging Disease Communication Plan which includes the process to follow and outlines resources available.
The Communications Plan process provides for confidentiality of the producer, veterinarian, or site identifiers making 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 One: Diagnostics beginning with routine testing and proceeding to further investigation if the pathogen is not identified. Should these diagnostics point to a new pathogen, producers and/or their veterinarians go to Step Two. (If follow-up diagnostics are required, resources are available through SHIC’s Diagnostic Fee Support process, click here for more information.)
Step Two: Contacting a veterinarian with any one of the following pork industry organizations:
• American Association of Swine Veterinarians: 515-465-5255
• National Pork Board: 515-223-2600
• National Pork Producers Council: 515-278-8012
• Swine Health Information Center: 515-598-4553
Step Three: Organization contacted in Step Two will inform the other veterinarians within all the above list.
Step Four: To get quick information, a conference call will be held with the producer and/or veterinarian of the case, veterinarians of the pork industry organizations, and subject matter experts as needed. Together, further appropriate action will be discussed.
Step Five: The information gathered will be used to consider coordinated response options.
The Emerging Disease Communication Plan provides a structure for sharing information, informing industry stakeholders, engaging resources, and assuring the US swine herd is protected. For more information on the Plan, contact SHIC Executive Director Dr. Paul Sundberg.
Always concerned about the future of the pork industry, the Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) Board of Directors June meeting included review of the organization’s mission statement and funding approval for two new projects. Industry partners including the National Pork Board, National Pork Producers Council, and American Association of Swine Veterinarians contributed to the review of SHIC’s mission statement and discussion about proposed projects.
Asking the right questions is crucial and for that reason the Board approved a proposal from Iowa State University to study if a swine health monitoring program, modeled after the poultry industry’s National Poultry Improvement Program (NPIP), is feasible for the pork industry. Investigators will rely on an advisory group to oversee development of a report of the findings.
The study will objectively examine NPIP and see if any parts can be translated to the US pork industry. The project will begin with reviewing possible future industry needs for swine health assurances to protect or enhance international trade. Then the group will consider if current programs, or a new pork NPIP-like program, could satisfy those needs in a sustainable manner. For an answer to whether a NPIP-like program is needed and feasible, questions of synergy with existing swine programs, organization and structure, state/federal/private contributions to funding, and sustainability will be considered.
The second study approved for funding by the SHIC Board is with South Dakota State University for the development of a multiplex real-time PCR and antibody reagents for the detection of swine acute diarrhea syndrome coronavirus (SADS-CoV). Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, porcine deltacorona virus and SADS-CoV are circulating in sow herds in the Far East, continuing to cause significant neonatal mortality. This study will arm US veterinary diagnostic lab swine disease diagnosticians with the ability for early detection of the recently discovered SADS-CoV that may be emerging in China.
SHIC 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 Board confirmed SHIC’s mission statement continues to reflect the organization’s effort protect the health of the US swine herd. But they also discussed ways the organization can remain flexible enough to quickly fill gaps in industry monitoring, analysis, preparedness, and response to new or emerging production diseases. Keeping the Center flexible in coordinating global and domestic disease monitoring, targeting research to answer questions in a timely manner, and analyzing data helps producers, and their veterinarians, with quality information and new tools for early disease detection, control, and response.
Part 1 of 3
The Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) engages over 40 industry stakeholders in two Working Groups advising the activities of the organization. Pork producers, practicing and consulting veterinarians, university researchers, allied industries, and state and federal animal health officials all contribute to helping guide SHIC in monitoring, preventing, preparing, and responding to emerging production diseases. The Working Groups support SHIC nimbleness in the event a quick decision or response is needed.
Group members are highly skilled professionals able to provide needed input. In a recent example, the Working Groups monitored Swine Acute Diarrhea Syndrome Coronavirus (SADS-CoV), a newly identified coronavirus variant emerging in China. Though it was reported in Chinese pigs early in 2017, SHIC’s Monitoring and Analysis Working Group advised action was not immediately needed as the variant at that time was not moving from province to province. When, in late 2017, that movement was detected, the threat to the US herd rose so the strategy quickly changed. The Preparedness and Response Working Group acted on the information from the Monitoring and Analysis Working group to oversee development of a test for SADS-CoV to be sure it would be detectable if it got to the US.
No matter when the Working Group may need to be convened, due to the size of the group quick response is possible due to a critical mass of participants able to engage. The members are all industry veterans, well-respected, and valuable to the process. Their recommendations and feedback on the issues addressed during regular business of SHIC as well as in times of urgency provide direction, collaboration, and further information. International members of the Working Group members with international contacts deliver a much-needed perspective, sharing information directly from their countries which is relevant to swine disease threats in the US.
Organizationally, SHIC’s policies, yearly plan of work and budget are set by the Board of Directors. The Working Groups then advise on the direct work of the Center, helping with programs, research, and response. It is SHIC’s intention for research and response activities to be able to happen quickly for the benefit of the US swine herd.
In next month’s SHIC newsletter, the Monitoring and Analysis Working Group will be featured with its responsibilities and activities highlighted.
The July SHIC Domestic Disease Monitoring Report shows PRRS activity still above the predicted value for 2018, with a recent spike in sow farms. There is a seasonal pattern of detection of respiratory agents, with summer having relatively lower detection of respiratory agents when compared to other seasons. There was an increase on detection rate of pathogens associated with respiratory disease in 2017 and 2018 compared to previous years. This increase in detection rate may be associated with implementation of better diagnostic practices by field veterinarians contributing for higher number of submissions for agent detection. Viral agents such as PRRSV, IAV, and circovirus have been detected frequently in respiratory cases with multiple agents.
Eastern Europe continues to see the further establishment of African Swine Fever (ASF). Border areas are a particular concern. Romani has seen a new occurrence in backyard swine that is across the country from previous outbreaks, but adjacent to Ukraine, a country that has had difficulty controlling the disease. Many countries are considering the construction of fences, with Denmark recently approving a 44-mile fence along its border with Germany.