During last week’s National Pork Board Annual Meeting, the delegates attending passed an advisement to continue to support the Swine Health Information Center (SHIC). The advisement supports the work SHIC is doing by encouraging the National Pork Board to continue funding at a level to be determined by the Board.
The Iowa Pork Producers Association and Illinois Pork Producers Association sponsored the advisement and explained the value of SHIC to delegates. Dr. Howard Hill, an Iowa pork producer and veterinarian, gave a brief background of how SHIC was started following the porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus outbreak in 2013. Following the epidemic, producers and organizations gathered to conceptualize a way to help the industry be more prepared for any other emerging disease outbreaks. The result was SHIC which is charged with monitoring the health of the US and international swine herd and in so doing helping the industry prepare, prevent, and respond to future emerging disease threats. The National Pork Board funded this new concept for producers for five years – SHIC has been in existence for 2.5 years.
One lesson learned from the PEDv outbreak, according to Dr. Hill, related to the inconsistency and inability of diagnostic labs being able to easily communicate their swine test results with each other. As a result, one of SHIC’s first successful projects was working with the four labs conducting the majority of swine disease diagnostic tests to redesign their report language so they would be able to quickly share diagnostic test result information with each other. As Dr. Hill explained, this will save crucial time when another outbreak occurs. “This effort will support producers by informing them about emerging diseases and by enhancing the ability to quickly communicate diagnostic information to state and federal officials in the case of a foreign animal disease or a new emerging swine disease,” he stated.
Dr. Hill also said SHIC’s work includes monitoring diseases globally through a project involving data from reporting countries as well as information from contacts throughout the world. Keeping in touch with what is happening globally will alert producers to possible emerging diseases that might risk US production domestically. Quick turnaround research is another example of SHIC’s value. When an emerging swine disease is identified, SHIC can solicit research proposals quickly to get answers needed about managing and controlling the disease in a timely manner.
While the advisement is not binding, it does recommend the National Pork Board to continue this important work and spend producers’ dollars on this valuable project.
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 http://www.swinehealth.org or contact Dr. Paul Sundberg at firstname.lastname@example.org.