SHIC Funds Tongue Tip Research Projects for Disease Monitoring

The Swine Health Information Center has awarded research funding to five projects designed to better understand the potential use of tongue tips for monitoring emerging diseases. When announcing the request for proposals on tongue tip research, SHIC’s research priorities included diagnostic test sensitivity and specificity, diagnostic lab processing procedures, virus isolation techniques, use to achieve PRRS stability or elimination as a model for emerging disease, and use for investigating vertical and/or horizontal disease transmission. Overall, more information is needed about how to apply tongue tip monitoring to support producers and veterinarians in recovery from emerging diseases. After a competitive proposal review process, awards were made to the University of Minnesota and Iowa State University in fall 2023.

Titles of the five projects funded are:

Optimizing PRRSV Surveillance: A Study on the Sensitivity of Tongue Tip Testing Protocols in Sow Herds

The Use of Tongue Tip Fluids to Monitor Viral Pathogens in the Nursery and Grow-Finish Phases of Swine Production

An Exploratory Study to Assess Whether Tongue Tip Fluids Could Be a Diagnostic Tool in Growing Pigs

Optimizing Tongue Tip Sampling Protocols for Enhanced Whole Genome Sequencing and PRRS Viral Isolation

Assessment of Tongue Tip Fluids from Stillborn Piglets as a Risk-Based Sample

These projects will help the industry by providing more information about diagnostic test sensitivity or specificity using tongue tips compared to other sample types such as processing fluids in neonates and oral fluids in nurseries. They will also investigate diagnostic lab processing procedures to support reliable, credible test results, as well as optimizing tongue tip collection protocols for recovery of live virus isolates. With this information, the ability to reliably research pathogens causing emerging disease outbreaks will increase.

Because there is no predicting when or where the next emerging disease will appear, SHIC needs to be prepared with funds in place that can be quickly mobilized to support filling the immediate research gaps following an outbreak. This research will provide producers and their veterinarians with critical information that they will need to effectively respond to the disease outbreak.

The Swine Health Information Center, launched in 2015 with Pork Checkoff funding, protects and enhances the health of the US swine herd by minimizing the impact of emerging disease threats through preparedness, coordinated communications, global disease monitoring, analysis of swine health data, and targeted research investments. As a conduit of information and research, SHIC encourages sharing of its publications and research. Forward, reprint, and quote SHIC material freely. For more information, visit or contact Dr. Paul Sundberg at [email protected] or Dr. Megan Niederwerder at [email protected].