Participation in swine surveillance pilot project encouraged

The U.S. swine industry and the USDA need your help. The American Association of Swine Veterinarians, National Pork Board and National Pork Producers Council support the USDA’s pilot project to evaluate a foreign animal disease surveillance system. As part of comprehensive and integrated surveillance, select diagnostic labs now have the ability to test case-qualifying samples for African swine fever and foot and mouth disease in the same way they have been testing for classical swine fever since 2009.

This testing supports the swine industry by assuring trading partners and other stakeholders that the United States is free of foreign animal diseases. It also supports stakeholder participation in a system to rapidly detect foreign animal diseases should they occur in swine in the United States.

AASV practitioners and accredited veterinarians are a first line of defense in detecting and reporting foreign animal diseases. You can assist this program by submitting currently validated biologic samples (whole blood for ASF, oral swabs for FMD, tonsil/tonsil scrapings/nasal swab for CSF). Samples and a completed surveillance diagnostic submission form should be submitted to one of the following NAHLN labs.

  • California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory
  • Iowa State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory
  • Purdue University Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory
  • Kansas State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory
  • University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory
  • North Carolina Department of Agriculture Rollins Diagnostic Laboratory
  • South Dakota State University Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Laboratory
  • Texas A&M University Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory

Currently validated samples to be collected for the ASF and FMD surveillance pilot are whole blood and oral swabs, respectively. The previously listed NAHLN laboratories will conduct rRT-PCR for detection of ASF in whole blood samples, FMD in oral swab samples, and CSF in tonsil/tonsil scraping/nasal swab samples.

For collection and handling of whole blood for ASF surveillance, follow these guidelines.

  • Use plastic or glass EDTA (purple-top tubes).
  • Collect a minimum of 2.0 mL of whole blood.
  • Label each tube with date, animal ID, and label or barcode as dictated by receiving NAHLN laboratory.

For collection and handling of oral swabs for FMD surveillance, follow these guidelines.

  • Take oral swabs from the oral cavity (i.e. swab inner lips and/or cheeks).
  • Use Dacron/Polyester-tipped swabs.
  • Media—3 mL of TBTB transport media.
  • Stir the oral swab into the medium; discard the swab, label each tube with date, animal ID, and label or barcode as dictated by receiving NAHLN laboratory.

For collection and handling of tonsil scrapings/nasal swabs for CSF surveillance, use the FMD oral swab guidelines.

For collection of tonsil tissue for CSF surveillance, refer to the “Got Tonsil” brochure. Submit tissues in plastic tube or bag, do not freeze.

A copy of the submission form has been provided to AASV so that the minimal information needed for the project can be submitted with the samples. This will also enable the Diagnostic labs to recognize these samples as ASF, FMD and/or CSF surveillance samples.

Packaging and shipping will continue as for CSF, contact your local federal VMO for shipping labels. Bar codes and shipping supplies can be obtained from NVSL. Follow this link, fill out the order form for the barcodes, email the form to [email protected].

AASV members are encouraged to submit samples targeting populations described below. These populations have been flagged as having a higher likelihood of becoming infected than the general swine population.

Targeted populations might include:

  1. Laboratory submissions of sick/dead pigs for postmortem examination and testing. Encourage the lab to test those samples that qualify by filling out the supplemental submission form.
  2. On-farm collection of swine samples from registered or illegal garbage feeders.
  3. On-farm sample collection from swine on premises suspected or known to have feral swine exposure.
  4. Slaughter samples collected from state or federal condemned swine due to erysipelas, septicemia or pneumonia postmortem; and high fever, moribund and CNS signs ante mortem.
  5. On-farm or slaughter samples from unthrifty pigs. These animals are targeted mostly for ASF and CSF under the assumption that low virulence strains could cause animals to not thrive.

If you suspect swine to have ASF, FMD or CSF, do not submit samples as part of this program. Contact state or federal authorities immediately if foreign animal disease is likely.

For more information on this pilot project, contact Barb Porter Spalding, Troy Bigelow, John Schiltz or Ellen Kasari.

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