October 2019 SHIC eNewsletter

SHIC Project Enables FMDV ELISA for Swine Oral Fluid Specimens

Foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) remains uncontrolled in most of the world. North America is among the few “FMDV-free without vaccination” areas of the world. In the event of an FMDV outbreak in North America, effective control and elimination will require rapid detection. And rapid detection will rely on an efficient surveillance sampling technology and immediate access to accurate diagnostic assays. Consequently, the Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) funded a project at Iowa State University with the long-term objective of creating an FMD 3ABC antibody indirect ELISA (iELISA) for use with swine oral fluids.

In this study, prototype serum and oral fluid FMDV 3ABC ELISAs were developed using samples from animals of precisely known FMDV status. The optimized tests detected specific antibody in serum and oral fluid samples from FMDV-infected or FMDV-vaccinated pigs by seven to 14 days post exposure. Importantly, the response is not serotype specific, meaning, the 3ABC ELISAs detect antibody in animals exposed to serotypes O, A, SAT2, and Asia 1. Also, the assays detect antibody against a non-structural protein which is not present in FMDV inactivated vaccines, consequently, the test provides for differentiation of vaccinated vs infected animals (DIVA).

Diagnostic testing of swine oral fluid samples has proven to be an effective and reliable method for the surveillance of endemic infectious diseases. Expanding this methodology to include FMDV will help provide FMDV-infected countries a new tool to control the infection and prepare the US industry for a “worst-case” scenario.

SHIC Study Assesses Tools for Mitigation of FAD Introduction and Transmission in Feed

The Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) recognizes the potential risk of feed as a route for introduction and transmission of transboundary animal diseases. Understanding the risk and mitigation of other foreign animal diseases such as African swine fever virus (ASFV), classical swine fever virus (CSFV) and pseudorabies virus (PRV) in feed and feed ingredients is critical to protecting the health of the US swine herd. SHIC funded a study at Kansas State University to identify animal feed ingredients which support survival of CSFV and PRV exposed to transpacific shipment conditions, improve the half-life calculations of ASFV in feed ingredients exposed to transatlantic shipment conditions, and investigate antiviral chemical mitigants as a tool for reducing the risk of introduction and transmission of CSFV, ASFV and PRV in feed and feed ingredients. Improved ASFV half-life estimates in feed ingredients were calculated to include both standard error and 95% confidence intervals. Additionally, antiviral chemical mitigants were tested for efficacy against foreign animal diseases in in vitro cell culture models and transboundary shipping models. Overall, this research has improved our ability to quantify risk of CSFV and PRV in feed, implement science-based storage times for ASFV in feed, and identify effective feed additives for risk mitigation of foreign animal diseases through feed.

SHIC Engagement Delivers Information to Stakeholders

To fulfill the Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) mission to enhance the health of the US swine herd, it requires sharing information with stakeholders within the pork industry. One way SHIC information gets into the hands of stakeholders is presentations made by Executive Director Dr. Paul Sundberg who spends significant time sharing with on-farm practitioners, international partners in fighting diseases, and investigating swine diseases before they reach our shores.


Dr. Paul Sundberg addresses the Leman Conference on the topic of Feed Biosecurity in September 2019.

In mid-September this year, Dr. Sundberg shared information from SHIC-funded research with practitioners attending the Leman Conference in St. Paul, Minnesota. The practitioners will be able to use the information from the Feed Safety session when working with their clients on their farms. By sharing the information these practices may be used on farms to help prevent the introduction of a foreign animal disease.

Sharing and gathering information with neighboring countries is very important in SHIC’s mission. Dr. Sundberg spoke to the Shakespeare Swine Seminar in Ontario, Canada, at their invitation. Canadian pork producers share the same concern and urgency over foreign animal disease prevention and preparedness as their American counterparts. Collaborative work with our neighbors to the north is an essential element of an overall strategy to safeguard the North American herd.

The resources and information shared by SHIC during these events, as well as the learning gained, all contribute to efforts to safeguard the health of the US swine herd. The SHIC website, www.swinehealth.org, is a repository of volumes of relevant information as well.

Introducing Dr. Pam Zaabel

In its effort to safeguard the health of the US swine herd, the Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) takes on prioritized projects on behalf of producers. To assist in the management of those projects, SHIC has entered into a contract agreement with Pam Zaabel, DVM. Dr. Zaabel will work with SHIC Executive Director Dr. Paul Sundberg on assigned projects in a limited scope, allowing the organization to continue making progress on its priorities.

“SHIC does great things,” Dr. Zaabel observed. “The organization is very responsive to issues in the industry and has been able to quickly put together the effort to address those issues. SHIC is getting a lot done in different areas and it’s great to be part of that effort.”

Dr. Zaabel received her doctor of veterinary medicine degree from Iowa State University in 1997. Following graduation, she became part of a mixed species veterinary practice in Newton, Iowa, where she worked for nine years. Dr. Zaabel then joined the National Pork Board (NPB) where she worked with SHIC Executive Director Dr. Paul Sundberg during his tenure there.

Following two years with NPB, Dr. Zaabel did some contracting for the industry then went to work for the Center for Food Security and Animal Health in the fall of 2009 as a veterinary specialist working on pig projects. Dr. Zaabel continues other contracting work for NPB and has also been deeply involved in the Secure Pork Supply program.

“I always knew there was an urgency to raise awareness and get the producer prepared for disease prevention,” Dr. Zaabel stated. “That urgency has become much greater and I’m really concerned about preparedness at the producer level if foreign animal disease does get here.”

Dr. Zaabel and her husband farm near Newton where they reside with their five children. Their farm includes an Angus cattle enterprise as well as kids’ projects of 50 laying hens and 10 beehives. The Zaabel’s social calendar is filled with their children’s activities. Dr. Zaabel likes to garden with plans to become a Master Gardener in the future, read, and be with her family.

October Swine Disease Monitoring Reports

Domestic Disease Monitoring Report

The percentage of positive porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) cases from wean-to-market age category in September was at 35.52%, up slightly from August for the second consecutive month. There was also an increase in the total number of cases tested, 376 in September compared to 340 in August. Cooler nights during the end of August and during September have been pointed to by the advisory council as a contributing factor for the recent increase in detection of wean-to-market animals. The level of detection of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) RNA during September for the age category wean-to-market was at 12.98%, which was similar to August. The level of detection of PEDV during September in adult/sow farms is 5.24%, the historical lowest since PEDV entered the US. The level of detection of Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae in the age category of adult/sows was 32.5% in August, the highest monthly level of detection for this agent in this category during the last three years. Complete details are included in the full report as well as the new disease diagnosis tracking information.

Global Swine Disease Monitoring Report

The first African swine fever (ASF) outbreaks were reported in the Philippines and South Korea in September. More than 67,000 pigs had been culled as of September 29 in South Korea. Timor-Leste became the 10th Asian country reporting ASF. The island of Timor-Leste is located 450 miles north of Darwin, Australia. In Thailand, the industry is on high alert for ASF. To date, ASF has not been reported there though thousands of pigs have been culled as precautionary measures and 24 provinces have been declared to be “surveillance areas” with movement restrictions. Additionally, the Global Swine Disease Monitoring Report includes information on Classic swine fever in Japan where they will start vaccinating commercial pigs against the CSF virus in an attempt to help control its continued spread. Further details are included in the full report.