Emerging disease communications strategy formed

Early communication essential to engage resources.

Source: Swine Health Information Center
When emerging swine disease arises, early communication about outbreaks is essential. Veterinarians and pork producers need to know who to contact and how to proceed in these events, beyond their diagnostic work and caring for the affected herd, so information is shared to protect the health of the U.S. herd. The recently developed Emerging Disease Communication Plan provides the process to follow and outlines the resources available.

The Swine Health Information Center  participated in development of the process which provides for confidentiality of the producer, veterinarian, or site identifiers making initial calls. Any actions because of those calls will maintain confidentiality to the level requested by the producer or veterinarian unless state or federal swine health regulations dictate otherwise.

The first step in the Emerging Disease Communication Plan is complete and exhaustive diagnostics beginning with routine testing and proceeding to further investigation if the pathogen is not identified. If follow-up diagnostics are required, resources are available through SHIC’s Diagnostic Fee Support process. Should these diagnostics point to a new or emerging pathogen, producers and/or their veterinarians move on to step two of the communication strategy which is contacting a veterinarian with any one of the following pork industry organizations.
• American Association of Swine Veterinarians
• National Pork Board
• National Pork Producers Council
• Swine Health Information Center

Per this communications protocol, the organization initially contacted will inform the other veterinarians within all the above organizations which is step three.

Step four represents the amassing of resources. A conference call will be held with the producer and/or veterinarian of the case, the veterinarians of the pork industry organizations and subject matter experts as needed, based on the preliminary information. Together, it will be determined what further action may be needed.

In step five, data available will be used to coordinate response options. Potential responses range from doing nothing to activation of the Swine Disease Response Council based on the information gathered and reviewed.

The Emerging Disease Communication Plan provides a structure for sharing information, informing industry stakeholders, engaging resources, and assuring the U.S. swine herd is protected. For more information on the Plan, contact SHIC Executive Director Paul Sundberg.

Funded by America’s pork producers to protect and enhance the health of the U.S. swine herd, the SHIC 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. For more information, visit SwineHealth.org or contact Paul Sundberg.

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