SHIC/CEID Partnership Examines Swine Bacterial Pathogens Risk

The Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) 2021 Plan of Work includes the commitment to join with other organizations to help to fill gaps in research and information needed to prevent, prepare, and respond to foreign animal or emerging diseases. SHIC has focused on viral pathogens/diseases of swine because of the risk they present to the US swine herd by virtue of their ability to travel and transmit. SHIC also takes seriously the potential for bacteria, which can also be pathogens, to cause emerging disease. To provide needed information on bacteria, SHIC recently executed a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Georgia Research Foundation to become a member of the Global Infectious Disease Intelligence Consortium and work with the Foundation’s Center for the Ecology of Infectious Diseases (CEID). The objective is to add another source of relevant information about existing and emerging infectious diseases. The result will be better intel on possible emerging bacteria to go along with the current information on potential emerging viruses.

One CEID project collected a dataset of known bacteria-host pairs (both wildlife and livestock), and tables of bacteria and host life history traits. After development of a machine learning model looking at a subset of this dataset, data was generated that could help predict potential bacterial spillovers from wildlife into swine. So far, known bacteria-host pairs were collected from the Enhanced Infectious Diseases (EID2) Organisms Interactions Database, Global Mammal Parasite Database, as well as Shaw et al. (2020, Molecular Ecology).

From this, 4648 known bacteria-host pairs, 1222 mammal hosts, and 1665 bacterial pathogens were identified.  As this work continues, CEID will be adding data on pathogenicity of bacteria to predict a more quantifiable risk to the pork industry.

 Strep equi spp zooepidemicus (S. zoo) is an example of bacterial spillover between species and was added to the SHIC Swine Bacterial Disease Matrix in February 2021. In adding S. zoo to the Swine Bacterial Disease Matrix, the potential public health impact, the need for more efficacious intervention tools, diagnostic capabilities, potential impact on swine health, welfare and production and potential market impacts were all considered.  A fact sheet focused on S. zoo was added to the SHIC Fact Sheet library as well.

SHIC, launched in 2015 with Pork Checkoff funding, 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 or contact Dr. Sundberg at [email protected].