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SHIC board approves project to examine future industry needs

SHIC continues to ask questions about what is needed to safeguard the health of the U.S. swine herd.

By Paul Sundberg, Swine Health Information Center Executive Director
Always concerned about the future of the pork industry, the Swine Health Information Center Board of Directors June meeting included review of the organization’s mission statement and funding approval for two new projects. Industry partners including the National Pork Board, National Pork Producers Council and American Association of Swine Veterinarians contributed to the review of SHIC’s mission statement and discussion about proposed projects. SHIC continues to ask questions about what is needed to safeguard the health of the U.S. swine herd.

Asking the right questions is crucial and for that reason the Board approved a proposal from Iowa State University to study if a swine health monitoring program, modeled after the poultry industry’s National Poultry Improvement Program, is feasible for the pork industry. Investigators will rely on an advisory group to oversee development of a report of the findings.

The study will objectively examine NPIP and see if any parts can be translated to the U.S. pork industry. The project will begin with reviewing possible future industry needs for swine health assurances to protect or enhance international trade. Then the group will consider if current programs, or a new pork NPIP-like program, could satisfy those needs in a sustainable manner. For an answer to whether an NPIP-like program is needed and feasible, questions of synergy with existing swine programs, organization and structure, state/federal/private contributions to funding, and sustainability will be considered.

The second study approved for funding by the SHIC Board is with South Dakota State University for the development of a multiplex real-time polymerase chain reaction and antibody reagents for the detection of swine acute diarrhea syndrome coronavirus. Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, porcine deltacorona virus and SADS-CoV are circulating in sow herds in the Far East, continuing to cause significant neonatal mortality. This study will arm U.S. veterinary diagnostic lab swine disease diagnosticians with the ability for early detection of the recently discovered SADS-CoV that may be emerging in China.

SHIC Mission Statement

The Board confirmed SHIC’s mission statement continues to reflect the organization’s effort protect the health of the U.S. swine herd. But they also discussed ways the organization can remain flexible enough to quickly fill gaps in industry monitoring, analysis, preparedness and response to new or emerging production diseases. Keeping SHIC flexible in coordinating global and domestic disease monitoring, targeting research to answer questions in a timely manner, and analyzing data helps producers and their veterinarians, with quality information and new tools for early disease detection, control and response.

The SHIC Board of Directors meets monthly via conference call and semi-annually in person. They are assisted by SHIC Working Groups including experts specializing in swine disease monitoring, data analysis, diagnostic and program preparedness and quick disease response. To learn more about the working groups, their areas of expertise and on-going projects, watch for upcoming SHIC newsletters.

Funded by America’s pork producers to protect and enhance the health of the U.S. swine herd, 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 the SHIC website or contact Paul Sundberg.

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