SHIC-Funded Project Pursues Disease Warning Tool

In a SHIC-funded effort aimed at increasing swine disease prevention and preparedness, staff with the Morrison Swine Health Monitoring Project are developing a methodology to communicate with project participants whenever a swine disease is occurring in the region near their sites. Whether an endemic or emerging disease, the goal is to be able to quickly report regional status to producers, allowing them to take precautions to protect their herds, per Dr. Mariana Kikuti, researcher, University of Minnesota Department of Veterinary Medicine.


“For example, if a producer’s neighbor tested positive for PRRS, or maybe ASF in the future, they would be notified and able to take necessary precautions,” Dr. Kikuti explained. However, the benefits extend beyond the producer level as well. “Indirectly, this program may also be able to facilitate the interaction between producers and animal health authorities in the face of an FAD.”


Dr. Kikuti her colleagues say this project is possible because of MSHMP’s primary mission, capturing and analyzing swine health data on a weekly basis from participating farms. Work to take that data and find a useful radius for notifications counting positive sites in a given region is underway. The program has been tested with one company participating in MSHMP, giving researchers a baseline for continued development, beginning with PRRS monitoring and reporting.


When the project is complete, MSHMP will weekly calculate the distance between a site that has recently reported an outbreak and neighboring MSHMP sites. From there, the team will develop a communication system to share regional incidence of disease with participants in a timely fashion, to allow the opportunity to put measures for disease prevention in place. Finally, they will automate the analysis to allow for seamless incorporation of the information for participants followed by open enrollment for non-MSHMP participants once the methodology has been established.


After testing the concept, MSHMP has brought on a postdoctoral fellow who will be 100% focused on accomplishing the project’s objectives. Dr. Xiaomei Yue is an animal health economist with a focus on the production and economic effects of animal disease surveillance programs on herds. She conducts retrospective and predictive research on disease surveillance

programs to provide decision makers with insights into more effective animal disease control programs. 


SHIC, launched by the National Pork Board in 2015 solely 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. Paul Sundberg at [email protected].