The Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) remains intent on learning everything possible about African swine fever (ASF) management and control. These lessons will be valuable if ASF enters the US and are part of SHIC’s preparedness mission. One of the many research proposals being funded by the USDA FAS grant received by SHIC, or with the cooperation of the National Pork Board in an effort to gain ASF information, is for field evaluation of oral fluids as a convenient, aggregate sample for early detection and surveillance of ASF. Conducted in Vietnam, this research will study the use of oral fluids for early detection of AFS. If so, this method represents a pen-based, non-invasive alternative for testing requiring significantly lower financial and human resources than other methods. Collaborators on this work are from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency – National Centre for Foreign Animal Diseases, Vietnam National University of Agriculture, Iowa State University, National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, USDA Animal Research Center, and Plum Island Animal Disease Center.
The study will be conducted on two farms affected by ASF in Vietnam. Protocols for farm selection and sample collection include repetition, observation, and concurrent whole blood testing for validation. No less than 500 animals will be used for this study. Oral fluids, whole blood, pharyngeal swab samples, and rectal temperatures will all be collected and recorded. Whole blood will be tested by real-time PCR assay and used for comparison of real-time PCR results from oral fluids. A total of 11,420 samples will be tested during the study.
In the event ASF enters the North American swine population, zoning or compartmentalization combined with active surveillance is critical to facilitate progressive elimination and eradication efforts, while maintaining pork exports from unaffected areas. Active surveillance based on individual sampling is labor intensive and costly, making it impractical during a large disease outbreak. The pen-based aggregate oral (rope) fluid testing being evaluated in this trial represents a potentially valuable alternative to reduce labor and expense for producers.
As the world deals with the COVID-19 pandemic, SHIC continues to focus efforts on prevention, preparedness, and response to novel and emerging swine disease for the benefit of US swine health. As a conduit of information and research, SHIC encourages sharing of its publications and research. Forward, reprint, and quote SHIC material freely. SHIC is funded by America’s pork producers to fulfill its mission to protect and enhance the health of the US swine herd. For more information, visit https://www.swinehealth.org or contact Dr. Sundberg at [email protected].