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Certified Swine Sample Collectors will be key during an FAD outbreak

National Pork Board Awards for Advancing Research in Respiratory Disease, sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim, has provided $1.2 million since 2002.
Required training resources include three foreign animal disease videos, biosecurity, restraint, sample collection and sample submission resources.

In 2019, the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service led a series of exercises to test the federal, state and industry responses to an African swine fever virus outbreak. Through these exercises, one area of concern identified is the limited number of people authorized to collect and submit diagnostic samples during a foreign animal disease response.

To address this critical issue, a collaborative industry group was formed with funding provided by USDA's National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program. Representatives from the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, Iowa State University's Swine Medicine Education Center and Center for Food Security and Public Health, National Pork Board and the Multi-state Partnership for Security in Agriculture, identified solutions and developed resources to train workers on proper techniques of various sample types.

For each sample type, a one-page handout and video were developed. To determine best methods for delivery of the training, a working group was formed to develop program standards.

The program standards can be found at this link and include:

  • Trainer is required to contact the animal health officials in the state(s) in which they plan to train or utilize Certified Swine Sample Collectors to confirm their eligibility to participate and any additional requirements that must be met.
  • During a FAD outbreak, state animal health officials will determine when CSSCs will be authorized to collect samples in their state.
  • Guidance on testing protocols will be provided by animal health officials.

Training must be conducted by a USDA category II accredited veterinarian that meets one of the three following stipulations:

  1. Has a business relationship with the owner of the pigs on farms where individuals are trained, OR
  2. Performs training by request of the site's category II accredited veterinarian under who the collectors will be submitting samples, OR
  3. Performs training by request of the state animal health official under whom the collectors will be submitting samples.

Trainee qualifications include:

  • Be approved to complete the training by the category II accredited veterinarian.
  • Encouraged to have a valid PQA Plus certification.
  • Successfully complete the curriculum for the training.

The curriculum consists of both classroom and hands-on training. During the classroom portion, the trainer reviews the training resources and administers a multiple-choice exam. The training resources are available in both English and Spanish. The hands-on portion follows the classroom training, where the trainer demonstrates the proper sampling techniques and the trainee must show proficiency.

Required training resources include three FAD videos, covering ASF virus, classical swine fever virus, and foot and mouth disease virus, biosecurity, restraint, sample collection and sample submission resources. Sample types are broken into two tiers, Tier 1 and Tier 2. CSSCs can be trained to either Tier 1 sample types or Tier 2 sample types (which includes Tier 1 as well as the additional sample types). Tier 1 sample types include: blood, blood swab, oral fluid, nasal swab and processing fluid. Tier 2 sample types include Tier 1 plus: tonsil, spleen, lymph node and vesicular fluid.

It is the responsibility of the trainer to follow the program standards and record and report names and contact information of successful trainees to their state animal health official.

It is the responsibility of the trainee to properly collect and submit samples and to recertify annually.

During a FAD outbreak, state animal health officials will determine when CSSCs will be authorized to collect samples. CSSCs can collect samples from any swine operation as requested by the category II accredited veterinarian or SAHO under whom the samples will be submitted, and the certification remains with the CSSC if they change employment.

Pork Checkoff has funded the project for it's third year to develop more sample resources. Additional resources that are in development include: oral swabs, spleen swabs, inguinal lymph nodes, pooling of samples, shower-in-shower-out procedures and a biosecurity video to accompany the current handout.

The program developed will improve the swine industry's ability to prepare and respond to a FAD outbreak. SAHOs are beginning to roll out the program on a state-by-state basis. To access the materials follow this link. To become a CSSC contact your veterinarian. If you are interested in training your producers to become CSSCs please contact your state animal health officials for more information.

In summary, Certified Swine Sample Collectors will improve the swine industry's ability to prepare and respond to a FAD outbreak. Visit the Secure Pork site for more information.

Source: Justin Brown, who is solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly owns the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

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