September 2019 SHIC eNewsletter
September 4, 2019
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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:

  • Identifying pathways for viral entry on farms
  • Validating use of swine oral fluids to confirm farm or region positive or negative status
  • Exploring the potential to isolate the virus on one area of a farm to enable other areas to provide pigs free of ASF contamination
  • Validating cleaning and disinfecting procedures so farms may be repopulated as soon as it is safe
  • Assessing cross-border risks and risk management of transboundary swine diseases

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.

Funded by America’s pork producers to protect and enhance the health of the US swine herd, the Swine Health Information Center focuses its efforts on prevention, preparedness, and response. As a conduit of information and research, SHIC encourages sharing of its publications and research for the benefit of swine health. Forward, reprint, and quote SHIC material freely. For more information, visit http://www.swinehealth.org or contact Dr. Paul Sundberg at psundberg@swinehealth.org.