The potential for Japanese encephalitis virus introduction, establishment, and spread in the US continues to drive emerging disease prevention and preparedness activities by the Swine Health Information Center and other stakeholders. Following SHIC’s October 2022 symposium, “Japanese Encephalitis Virus: Emerging Global Threat to Humans & Livestock,” hosted by the Center for the Ecology of Infectious Diseases at the University of Georgia, development of a Japanese encephalitis informational website was identified as a priority action item. The site, developed by CEID and sponsored by SHIC, is now live and can be found at JEVISN.org.
On the new website, which serves as a centralized source of information, visitors will find content categorized under these headings: Updates, Information, Resources, and Data. JEVISN.org also describes how visitors can join a newly developed JEV Listserv managed by CEID. In the Information section, topic areas include ecology, epidemiology, economic impacts, and response. The Resources section contains technical literature, academic and government resources, SHIC’s JEV Fact Sheet, and content from the 2022 symposium. JEVISN.org will be continually updated as further information is gathered, data is generated, and research is completed.
Input from pork industry stakeholders is encouraged by SHIC and CEID. Recommendations for content should be directed to [email protected] with the subject line JEVISN.org input.
The US represents an area susceptible to the introduction of Japanese encephalitis, a disease capable of affecting humans as well as pigs. JE is transmitted primarily by Culex mosquitoes carrying the virus. Previous incursions of other mosquito-borne flaviviruses in the US include West Nile virus and Zika virus. Knowing the availability of competent mosquito vectors, susceptible hosts, and environmental conditions similar to those in endemic countries creates concern for the US pork industry as well as for public health officials.
SHIC has funded several projects designed to further strengthen US swine industry JEV preparedness as well as inform response efforts, should they be needed. Some of SHIC’s efforts include the implementation of a systematic literature review led by researchers at Kansas State University to increase understanding of the virus’s biology, components and dynamics of transmission, and environmental factors necessary for incursion and establishment.
The incursion of JEV genotype IV into areas previously free from the disease, as observed in Australia with the introduction and expansion of JEV in eastern and southeastern states, warrants the need for research and preparation efforts due to its potential for incursion and establishment in the US. The same team at Kansas State University that conducted the literature review is also re-assessing potential pathways of JEV introduction into the US via a risk assessment with funding provided by SHIC. Further, along with Dr. John Drake, CEID Director, researchers at KSU, UGA, and USDA National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, Foreign Arthropod-Borne Animal Diseases Research Unit are studying the spread of JEV in Australia to help inform and model the potential spread in the US, should there be a JEV incursion.
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 http://www.swinehealth.org or contact Dr. Paul Sundberg at [email protected] or Dr. Megan Niederwerder at [email protected].