SHIC project to identify research priorities for H5N1 risk to swine

Potential emerging disease threat due to the recent outbreak in dairy cattle.

July 2, 2024

3 Min Read
National Pork Board

In response to the ongoing outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 in the dairy industry, the Swine Health Information Center has highlighted IAV monitoring in swine through the domestic disease monitoring reports, coordinated a HPAI H5N1 in a livestock webinar along with the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, and published newsletter articles to inform stakeholders of current IAV knowledge. To build on these efforts, SHIC has recently funded a literature review to identify research priorities and knowledge gaps for HPAI H5N1 risk to swine. Led by Montse Torremorell, University of Minnesota, the project will outline currently available information on clinical presentation, detection, mitigation strategies on swine flu, and research priorities for preventing HPAI H5N1 in swine.

SHIC's mission is to protect and enhance the health of the U.S. swine herd by minimizing the impact of emerging disease threats. Disease threats are evaluated for risk when there is a change in the species affected, the clinical presentation, the severity of disease or the geographic range impacted. SHIC identified HPAI H5N1 as a potential emerging disease threat to U.S. swine due to the recent outbreak in dairy cattle, which represents a change in species affected and clinical presentation through mastitis. No cases of H5N1 have been detected in U.S. swine and industry efforts are focused on preventing infection.

Due to be completed by late summer 2024, the HPAI H5N1 literature review will outline current knowledge on the virus and identify the greatest research needs to mitigate risk to swine. More specifically, the review will cover the current knowledge for H1 and H3 influenza strains currently circulating in swine as well as the H5N1 influenza strains circulating in wild birds and dairy cattle. Current understanding of clinical presentation, diagnostic samples, surveillance and management strategies will be reviewed. Research priorities for prevention, preparedness, mitigation and response for H5N1 risk to swine will be identified.

In other ongoing influenza activities, SHIC supports routine monitoring of IAV in swine through the Swine Disease Reporting System which aggregates data from participating veterinary diagnostic laboratories in the U.S. and reports the major findings to the swine industry through monthly reports. A newly implemented monitoring capability provides the industry with information regarding IAV detection in each state, including an expected rate of prevalence based on historical detection. Further, there is an added feature for mapping IAV diagnostic data across states for visualization of changes from state-specific baselines. Monthly reports can be accessed here.

SHIC, in collaboration with AASV, hosted a webinar on HPAI H5N1 in livestock and risk to swine on Friday, April 19 that garnered high interest. A total of 1,341 individuals registered with 921 joining the webinar live across 30 countries. Goals of the webinar were to have subject matter experts provide the latest information on influenza A virus, including an overview of the pathogen, global and domestic distribution, research outcomes for HPAI experimental infection in swine, experiences and perspectives of the dairy industry from the current outbreak, and an outbreak investigational tool for identifying and mitigating biosecurity risks. Additionally, information for producers on actions that can be taken to reduce the risk of avian influenza introduction on-farm was provided. The webinar can be viewed on demand here.

Through the SHIC newsletter and SHIC website, several articles have been provided to inform stakeholders about IAV risk and monitoring in swine including a two-part article series overview of the HPAI H5N1 in livestock and risk to swine webinar and an article detailing current IAV monitoring in swine through USDA surveillance and SDRS. Additional SHIC activities include development of a SHIC Talk podcast on H5N1 IAV, participation in a producer roundtable for disease monitoring and control at World Pork Expo, and multiple interviews with agriculture media outlets to inform producers on steps to reduce the risk of IAV introduction into their farms.

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