Risky pigs: Moving weaned pigs during an FMD outbreak – part 1

Key points

  • Foreign animal diseases like FMD, ASF, and CSF are a threat to the global swine industry.
  • The response to a foreign animal disease usually involves the establishment of disease control areas within which there will be movement restrictions put in place in an attempt to stop disease spread between farms.
  • Allowing movement from a disease control area of pigs with no evidence of infection can be done without spreading disease if science-based risk mitigation measures are put in place.
Continue reading “Risky pigs: Moving weaned pigs during an FMD outbreak – part 1”

Best of Leman 2018 series: J. Patterson – Efficiencies of replacement gilt management

Our fifth presentation is by Jennifer Patterson from the University of Alberta about how we can improve efficiencies of replacement gilt management.

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Predicting the monthly risk of PRRS in Minnesota counties using past MSHMP surveillance data

This week, we are sharing a report from recent PhD graduate Kaushi Kanankege about predicting the monthly risk of PRRS.

Key points

  • High risk of PRRS occurrence was observed in counties where >25% of MSHMP farms were fully or partially air-filtered, have high number of hog farms, and have farms belonged to multiple production systems.
  • PRRS occurrence association with air filters may be due to attempts to mitigate risk in prevalent areas.
  • Further research is required to understand the space-time association of the windborne local spread of the virus and the installation of air filters.
Continue reading “Predicting the monthly risk of PRRS in Minnesota counties using past MSHMP surveillance data”

Comparison of individual, group and environmental sampling strategies to conduct influenza surveillance in pigs

In this new scientific publication from Dr. Jorge Garrido, PhD candidate from the Torremorell lab, numerous sampling strategies to monitor influenza were compared. the following individual, litter, and environmental samples were included in the study:

  • Nasal swabs
  • Nasal wipes
  • Oropharyngeal swabs
  • Oral fluids
  • Surface wipes
  • Udder wipes
  • Airborne particle deposition
  • Air
Continue reading “Comparison of individual, group and environmental sampling strategies to conduct influenza surveillance in pigs”

The Resistome: What is it, and why should I care? Part 2

Last week, we talked about the resistome – what it is, and what it could mean for livestock production and public policy. If you need a quick reminder, check back to last week’s MSHMP report before continuing.

This week, we continue our list of five emerging trends about the resistome:

3. Growing animals experience dramatic changes in their resistome, even in the absence of antibiotic drugs. This is also true for human babies and children.In fact, the scientific literature is clear on this: the resistome (and also the microbiome!) of rapidly growing livestock animals is dynamic. For the swine world, this means that most of our antibiotic treatments are being given to animals whose resistance (and microbiome) profiles are already in a baseline state of flux. Contrast this to human medicine, where we have the luxury of studying resistance in very mature, stable populations; not so in swine medicine. While that means that our task might be more challenging, I am optimistic that it also presents exciting opportunities. Given that the microbiome (and resistome) of growing animals is already changing dramatically, do we have an opportunity to “nudge” it in one direction or the other? There is some evidence that the microbiomes of adult humans are surprisingly resilient, i.e., they may shift transiently but often return to their “normal” state. This resilience might be a good thing for most of us, but it makes it challenging to change our microbiomes permanently if we need to. Perhaps because growing animals’ microbiomes are not so stable, we can more easily nudge them towards a beneficial state, i.e., with more metabolically- and inflammatory-friendly microbes and fewer resistance genes? We don’t know yet, but it’s an intriguing question.

4. Resistance is even more complex than we realize, and this is a good thing. Given everything I’ve outlined above, it should be no surprise that some of our assumptions about antibiotic resistance are being challenged. This is a good thing, and I’m hopeful that eventually this newfound knowledge will allow us to protect antibiotic efficacy in the long-term. Bacteria will always find a way to resist our treatments, and therefore the antibiotic pipeline must run continually to keep up.If there are ways that we can manipulate bacterial populations to slow down their evolution towards resistance, this prolongs the efficacy of antibiotics that are already on the market. I think that the complex resistome dynamics that we can now leverage are likely to hold some solutions in this regard.

5. Resistome (and microbiome) data is exploding – faster than we can keep up. Given the relative ease with which we can now generate DNA sequence data, we are experience a “data deluge”. While data generation is a necessary step towards knowledge discovery, it is not a sufficient step. We need to make sure that we are taking the laborious and resource-intensive measures needed to turn this data into information, and then finally into applied benefit. This transformation requires a dedicated team of extremely diverse skillsets – and that team includes producers and veterinarians who can help us ask the right questions of the data, and can then help us turn the resulting information into on-farm benefit.

I’m sure this science report is a bit different than what you expected to read, but I hope it was a helpful essay on the resistome and all of its complexities.

If you want to read some of our livestock-related scientific literature that utilizes a resistome approach, I would encourage you to read the following research summaries:

Summary 1

Summary 2

There are also some podcasts and blogs about our work, which can be found here: podcast and blog post.

And finally, you can always see our latest research publications and activities at our website and Twitter accounts: http://www.thenoyeslab.org and @noelle_noyes

Thanks for reading!