When the Swine Health Information Center was formed July 1, 2015, it was with the understanding it was a five-year project. The proposal language surrounding the Center's formation stated, "Funding of the Center past its five-year life will depend on it being able to demonstrate a sufficient return on the investment to justify keeping it running." Following presentation and approval of SHIC's 2019 Progress Report on Jan. 7, 2020, the National Pork Board board of directors voted to extend the project for two more years, using SHIC's existing funds. NPB also agreed to continued consideration of future funding and coordination beyond the two-year extension.
In the 2019 report, it is clear African swine fever required significant resources, however, SHIC remained faithful to its mission to protect the health of the U.S. swine herd through comprehensive preparedness, monitoring, response and communications activities. The 2019 Progress Report details progress in each of these areas.
Preparedness activities on behalf of U.S. swine herd health
- Developed the Diagnostic Assay Catalog which includes polymerase chain reaction assays and enzyme linked immunosorbent assays for detection of emerging disease and made available to all diagnostic labs
- Developed PCR and ELISA tools now widely available to labs in the U.S.
- Researched priority pathogens porcine circovirus 3, foot-and-mouth disease, and ASF
- Administered USDA-Foreign Ag Service grant to fund the analysis of Vietnamese field oral fluid samples
- International transportation biosecurity practices of four cooperating U.S. breeding stock companies were analyzed
- Due to a Senecavirus A outbreak in Brazil, investigated the possibility a Brazilian feed mill and/or its ingredients could be a source of the pathogen's transmission
Monitoring swine disease transmission vectors
- SHIC and the NPB co-funded a project analyzing the risk of ASF and classical swine fever being introduced into the U.S. through prohibited swine products by air passengers
- Joined with the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, National Pork Producers Council and NPB to meet multiple times with the Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection during 2019 to voice concerns about the lack of secondary screening of travelers after declaring contact with foreign farms or animals relating to ASF and FAD threats
Improving transport biosecurity domestically
- Funded pilot study to investigate the transfer of contamination from livestock trailers to barns during marketing events
- Evaluating if implementing a staged loading procedure will prevent the transfer of swine pathogen contaminated particles from livestock trailers to barns
Investigating common inputs as vectors for disease introduction
- Kansas State University project improved the half-life calculations of ASF in feed ingredients exposed to transatlantic shipment conditions
- Examined 14 feed additives to determine their ability to negatively affect viral survival and be cost-effective mitigants
- Encouraged the American Feed Industry Association as they updated feed mill biosecurity guidelines
- Participated in a feed processor ASF task force to define prevention, detection, and response protocols for feed ingredients, feed manufacture and on-farm feed delivery
- Sponsored a workshop to increase understanding of the vitamin supply chain and identify potential risk factors for introducing foreign animal disease to the U.S.
- Brought together soybean industry stakeholders to increase understanding of the soy supply chain and identify potential risk factors for introducing foreign animal disease into the U.S.
Improving swine health information
- Continued to support the Morrison Swine Health Monitoring Project which monitors approximately 50% of the U.S. sow herd for economically important pathogens
- Described key differences in the biosecurity aspects of breeding herds with relatively low porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome incidence, compared to those with relatively high PRRS incidence
- Funded a study applying machine-learning to predict porcine epidemic diarrhea virus outbreaks on sow farms
- Funded thorough study of the National Poultry Improvement Plan, its associated organizational structure and operations, and industry participation and execution across the various segments of the U.S. poultry industry to assess the potential for establishing a similar program for the U.S. swine industry
Surveillance and discovery of emerging disease
- New variant of porcine sapovirus identified in 2019 and appears to be the first detection of a single porcine sapovirus infection in piglets with diarrhea in the U.S.
- Real time RT-PCR to detect viral RNA in clinical samples and determine the viral load being developed
- Developed and evaluated a serum/oral fluid ELISA to detect antibodies against atypical porcine pestivirus
- Improvements made toward a nationally coordinated swine health surveillance system to prepare, detect and rapidly respond to emerging and foreign animal diseases were investigated
- Streptococcus equi ssp zooepidemicus confirmed in assembly yards resulting in isolates being sequenced, a species-specific PCR being developed, and a challenge study being done
- Continued further diagnostic work into understanding a hemorrhagic tracheitis syndrome in Canada
Responding to emerging disease
- U.S. pork industry created the National Swine Disease Council made up of key industry leaders, the North American Meat Institute and representatives from SHIC, NPB, NPPC and AASV along with USDA and state animal health official representation
- In collaboration with AASV, held a webinar titled Disease Management of Viral Myelitis for veterinary practitioners and pork producers.
African swine fever
- Funded a project to report the current state of knowledge regarding possible strain differences and pathogenicity of ASF
- USDA-Foreign Ag Service grant awarded to SHIC, with active support from NPPC, funds project in Vietnam helping to build strategic partnerships while increasing trade of U.S. pork to the region including swine health field projects ultimately informing North American pork producers about effective ASF preparedness and response
Funded by America's pork producers to protect and enhance the health of the U.S. 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.