SHIC Standardized Outbreak Investigation Program Web-Based Application

The Swine Health Information Center’s Standardized Outbreak Investigation Program (SOIP) was introduced in early 2023 with a downloadable standardized outbreak investigation Word-based form. Now, a web-based application to conduct outbreak investigations is available. Developed in response to an industry need for a standardized tool to make sustainable progress on biosecurity, this expert-built application provides for consistent investigation and data collection. For use of the web-based version, veterinarians will contact the ISU-based administrator for access, a one-time process, at [email protected].

The web-based SOIP application automatically generates two reports when an investigation is completed. The full report captures everything that was learned during the investigation to highlight the most significant hazards and second, a summary report helps producers prioritize where they can most effectively invest their resources in biosecurity control measures. With the SOIP application, veterinarians are able to capture biosecurity hazard information to tighten biosecurity ahead of an emerging or transboundary disease challenge.

SOIP application development was led by Dr. Derald Holtkamp, Iowa State University, and collaborators. Dr. Holtkamp engaged a working group of 12 academics and swine veterinarians in building the standardized outbreak investigation form.

By employing the SOIP application, veterinarians have a standardized way to conduct a biosecurity hazard analysis and epidemiological investigation to identify and prioritize biosecurity hazards. The consistent approach to terminology and data collection facilitates comparisons across the industry to identify biosecurity hazards and entry events most frequently associated with outbreaks.

The SOIP application can be used now for endemic disease prevention and outbreak investigations. It can be used by veterinarians and producers to identify and prioritize biosecurity hazards so the production system can implement biosecurity control measures accordingly. It also facilitates preparation for seasonal or epidemic disease challenges. For the future, the SOIP application prepares the industry to respond to emerging and transboundary diseases. Producers and veterinarians will be able to rapidly identify, control, and eliminate these challenges with the standardized data and enhanced biosecurity control measures it inspires.

While the downloadable hard copy version remains available, the web-based version provides ready access to historical outbreak investigation data. Use of the web-based application is a practical method for developing an industry database. A data sharing agreement will outline how the data may be used with security being a key feature of the username/password system access.  The goal is the opportunity to enhance biosecurity by using historical data to identify the frequency of biosecurity hazards and the collective experiences across the industry.

The downloadable version is a fillable form that upon completion could be entered into the application. Or it could be used for farm/system outbreak investigations without submitting. But every submission will strengthen the confidential, without identifiers, database that can be mined to find industry trends and opportunities to learn from the collective experience and strengthen industry-wide biosecurity.

For use of the web-based version, veterinarians will contact the ISU-based administrator for access, a one-time process at [email protected].

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].