September 2019 SHIC eNewsletter

SHIC Receives USDA Grant to Open ASF Dialogue and Research in Asia

A grant recently awarded to the Swine Health Information Center (SHIC), with active support from the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), aims to start a dialogue between the US and Vietnamese officials, sharing veterinary knowledge and ways to prevent African swine fever (ASF) from further spreading. The approximately $1.7 million grant from the USDA’s Foreign Animal Service division will fund the multi-phase project, helping to build strategic partnerships while increasing trade of US pork to the region. The work will include swine health field projects, including collection and analysis of disease samples, which will help inform North American pork producers about effective ASF preparedness and response.

Under the first phase of the project, the groups will identify and meet with key stakeholders in Vietnam. In phase two, the groups will train the Vietnamese veterinary workforce on ASF prevention and control, helping to build local veterinary capacity. Concurrently in the final phase, ASF-related field projects will be implemented, including those helping to inform the US pork industry about effective ASF preparedness and response. Work will begin in September. The effort will be to gather and analyze the Vietnamese information as quickly as possible.

Information from the project will include:

Application for the grant was a collaborative effort involving Bobby Acord, representing NPPC, Dr. Andres Perez from the University of Minnesota, Dr. Eric Neumann with Epi Insights in New Zealand, and Dr. Aruna Ambagala, Canadian Food Inspection Agency National Center for Foreign Animal Disease, as well as Dr. Paul Sundberg, SHIC’s executive director. The group’s input into the proposal and experimental design were key to the proposal’s success. Additionally, USDA Animal Research Service on Plum Island and USDA Center for Epidemiology and Animal Health in Fort Collins have been working with the collaborators.

SHIC, NPPC, the National Pork Board and AASV are working closely with USDA to, first, prevent ASF from entering the US swine herd but also to be prepared to respond should an outbreak occur. The industry is actively identifying and prioritizing critical research needs and working in collaboration with state and federal animal health officials to make sure that, at a national level, all appropriate biosecurity measures are being implemented. For further information on industry-wide efforts to prevent ASF, click here.

SHIC Joins Industry Groups in ASF Prevention and Preparedness Activities

Since the August 2018 diagnosis in China, the Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) along with other pork industry groups have been focused on preventing an outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) in the United States as well as planning for response should it occur. Significant progress has been made due to cooperation between SHIC and these groups, resulting in information dissemination, monitoring, analysis, research, and development of tools for the industry. These industry groups have also worked closely with USDA Animal Health and Plant Inspection Service (APHIS), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in the effort to protect the health of the US swine herd.

SHIC will participate in an APHIS-conducted multi-state crisis drill September 23-26 which will test federal and state agencies’ and industry’s preparedness and response status while also identifying gaps in planning. Based on a fictional ASF outbreak in the US, the process will include four exercises in the top 14 swine producing states. These functional exercises and drills will conclude a series of events APHIS has coordinated, all in an effort to safeguard the health of the US swine herd.

Please note this is a planned drill, not a real announcement of ASF diagnosis in the US. Your awareness of this process and participation as appropriate will help with on-going prevention and preparedness efforts. And knowing this exercise is planned will help prevent unwarranted panic.

In addition to these APHIS activities, pork industry efforts to prevent and prepare for ASF have included coalition building, research, education for producers, allied industry, other stakeholders, and the public, as well as analysis of existing and needed systems. A review of these activities can be found here. SHIC has been particularly active in funding and facilitating research projects related to ASF.

Visit the SHIC website to see monthly Domestic and Global Swine Disease Monitoring Reports. A page on the website also contains ASF-specific links to resources, articles, and media coverage.

SHIC Gathers International Swine Disease Intel

The Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) engages in ongoing global pig disease status monitoring including review of Great Britain’s Disease Surveillance and Emerging Threats report as well as the Canadian Community for Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases (CEZD) Weekly Intelligence Report. Great Britain’s quarterly report reviews disease trends and threats facing their national herd, intended to inform government, the veterinary profession, and farmers. Data for this report is collected by Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) as well as Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) Veterinary Services Division along with other contributors in their Pig Expert Group networks. CEZD is a virtual network combining automated information-mining tool data with multidisciplinary analytical capability by experts. CEZD’s automated system collects and filters disease signals from 21 news sources which are then reviewed by experts before distribution including analysis.

In the second quarter report for 2019 from Great Britain, posted with permission on the SHIC website, authors from APHA discuss African swine fever (ASF), Brachyspira hampsonii, clostridial myositis and cellulitis, porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, and Brachyspira hyodyseneriae. Their Pig Expert Group, a part of APHA, is led by Susanna Williamson, DVM. She directs the pig disease surveillance project and is a former president of the Pig Veterinary Society. The Group working with Dr. Williamson includes representatives from APHA and SRUC along with persons from other pig-related agencies and associations in Great Britain.

CZED’s Weekly Intelligence Report for August 12-18 contains information on ASF, classical swine fever, and Newcastle disease virus. CZED is a collaborative effort and connected to the Canadian Animal Health Surveillance System which is an initiative of the National Farm Animal Health and Welfare Council. This Council is a network of self-organizing and self-governing animal health surveillance networks not controlled by their government or any one group. CZED’s efforts are also tied to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

SHIC’s strengthens its swine disease prevention and preparedness effort by remaining aware of how other international agencies are monitoring and reporting activity. Great Britain, Canada, and the US share the same commitment to remaining free from ASF infection as well as being aware of emerging disease issues globally and sharing information in this format is helpful to these processes.

SHIC Renews Popular Global Swine Disease Monitoring Report

The Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) Global Swine Disease Monitoring Report facilitates near real-time identification of hazards posing risks to the domestic pork industry. Being able to access accurate and reviewed information quickly is important to producers and the industry as a whole, according to the SHIC Monitoring and Analysis Working Group in their support of continued funding of the program. Compiled by staff at the University of Minnesota, the report is posted on the SHIC website and included its monthly enewsletter, always ranking as one of the most read articles.

University of Minnesota staff involved in Global Swine Disease Monitoring Report development include Dr. Andres Perez, project coordinator, and Dr. Sol Perez, principal investigator. Auguste Brihn also contributes to the process. The expert focus group reviewing the reports includes Drs Jerry Torrison, Montserrat Torremorell, Cesar Corzo, and John Deen along with SHIC Executive Director Dr. Paul Sundberg. Collaboration and review is also provided by the US Department of Agriculture Veterinary Services Center for Epidemiology and Animal Health. This input is critical to the industry led effort.

Multiple official data sources, including government and international organization websites, and soft data sources like blogs, newspapers, and unstructured electronic information from around the world, are screened, then curated to build a raw repository. The expert focus group then reviews each event, based on novelty, potential direct and indirect financial impacts on the US market, credibility, scale and speed of the outbreak, connectedness, and local capacity to respond average is calculated.

The Global Swine Disease Monitoring Report is one of several essential functions made possible by SHIC to help fulfill its mission, “…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.”

September Swine Disease Monitoring Reports

Domestic Disease Monitoring Report

During August, PRRSV activity was at the lower boundaries for the predicted value for 2019. Higher detection of PRRSV in wean-to-market pigs was reviewed by the Advisory Council with several potential causes identified. The level of detection of PEDV RNA during late August was slightly above the expected value for this period of the year. The Advisory Council saw two potential causes for the increase in detection of PEDV in the wean-to-market category. Detection of PDCoV RNA was within the expected values for August. There were no positive cases for TGEV over a total of 2,235 cases tested in August. There was a trend of increasing the level of detection of Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae DNA in all age categories in August. However, the increased detection for this period of the year is more accentuated for the age category adult/sow farms. In August, there was no disease diagnosis alert signals detected for the following monitored systems: nervous, urogenital, digestive, respiratory, systemic, musculoskeletal, and cardiovascular-blood-endocrine-immune. In other words, the number of cases having each disease diagnosis was within the expected based on historic data.

Global Swine Disease Monitoring Report

Chinese social media indicates there is African swine fever (ASF) vaccine availability, however, authorities deny it and warned farmers regarding the hoax. A jump in swine mortality in the Philippines’ not yet attributed to a cause; concerns of ASF or some other emerging disease arriving in the country are raised. The first ASF outbreak has been reported in Serbia with low mortality rates raising questions about an evolving clinical presentation. In Japan, classical swine fever (CSF) continues to raise concern. Vaccination against CSF in domestic pigs is being considered by the Japanese veterinary authority after outbreaks in two new prefectures.