Science Page: Multiple influenza viruses circulate in growing pigs during epidemic events

This is our Friday rubric: every week a new Science Page from the Bob Morrison’s Swine Health Monitoring Project. The previous editions of the science page are available on our website.

This week, we are sharing a study from Dr. Andres Diaz and the Torremorell lab.

Key points

  • The diversity of influenza A viruses in growing pigs is dynamic
  • Influenza A viruses can replicate as a swarm of viruses that are identical, closely related to each other (>99%), or clearly distinct (H1 vs. H3 subtypes)
  • Influenza A viruses of the same genotype can re-infect pigs within a short period of time.
132 3-week old piglets selected at weaning and placed in a wean-to-finish farm were sampled weekly for 15 weeks (n=2080 samples). Samples were tested by RT-PCR and the complete genome of influenza was obtained from 93 samples using next generation sequencing.
Two epidemic waves of IAV infection were detected with 3 distinct viral groups (VG swarms) found (VG1, VG2 and VG3). An H1 gamma (VG1) dominated the first outbreak, an H3 (VG3) dominated the second outbreak and an H1 beta (VG2) was only recovered when none of the two other viruses dominated.
The complete version of this study can be found online in open-access.

Science Page: Uterine prolapses trend in production sow herds

This is our Friday rubric: every week a new Science Page from the Bob Morrison’s Swine Health Monitoring Project. The previous editions of the science page are available on our website.

This week, we are sharing a study from Dr. Carmen Alonso and collaborators at Elanco.

Objectives of the study:

The objectives of the study, were: 1) to analyze the trends in prolapses of sows from 2012 to 2016, and 2) to evaluate the role of management practices, production parameters, and PRRS and PED disease status as covariates in the trend analysis of uterine sow prolapses.

Key points:

  • Uterine prolapse primarily affects sows around parturition and is still defined by an uncertain list of verified etiologies.
  • Since early 2013, swine companies have been experiencing an increase in the incidence of uterine prolapses in their herds.
  • Understanding the trends and potential risk factors would be crucial to improve the economics and welfare of the affected sow farms.

Uterine prolapses significant variables Alonso Results from this study indicate that the percentage of prolapsed sows has consistently increased every year (significant from 2014-2016) as a percentage of total deaths with the incidence being higher during the winter months and the lowest during the summer months. Total born, the use of toxin binder, assistance during farrowing, and PED health status had an association to sow deaths with prolapse per sows farrowed.

Click here to read the entire report on Uterine prolapses trends.

Science Page: Describing the cull sow and cull hog market networks in the US: A pilot project

This is our Friday rubric: every week a new Science Page from the Bob Morrison’s Swine Health Monitoring Project. The previous editions of the science page are available on our website.

This week, we are sharing a project from Dr. Jim Lowe at the University of Illinois.

Project rationale

“What is the range of locations of sows that enter a slaughter plant?, How many stops along the way do they make? and How long do they remain the slaughter channel?” These are the questions this project is planning to answer.

Key Points:

  • Little is known about the cull market, how culls are transported, and how they play a role in disease spread.
  • While most sows travel directly to slaughter, an important percentage most likely move through multiple collection points.
  • Cull sow movement are important for understanding disease transport related epidemiology.

Premise ID tags were collected during an entire week at a cull harvest plant. Animals originated from 297 unique source farms, located in 21 US states and Canada.

distance from farm to marketResults are shown in the histogram on the left.

The majority of culls (86%) originate less than 240km from the final collection point. This interaction is deemed to be a primary interaction, meaning that it is very likely the culls moved direct from the farm of origin to the final collection point. 14% of the culls travel a distance greater than 240km to the terminal collection point. Of these 14%, 17.7% or 2.5% of all culls, traveled 5 times as far to the last point of collection from the farm than they did from collection point to plant.

Click here to see the entire report on the cull sows and cull hogs market.

Science Page: Introducing Dr. Cesar Corzo

This is our Friday rubric: every week a new Science Page from the Bob Morrison’s Swine Health Monitoring Project. The previous editions of the science page are available on our website.

Cesar Corzo
Dr. Cesar Corzo will be leading the MSHMP efforts.

Dr. Cesar A Corzo has recently joined the Swine Group at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine as the Allen D. Leman Chair in Swine Health and Productivity.
As the new Leman Chair, Dr. Corzo will focus on leading the Morrison Swine Health Monitoring Project by strengthening the link between producers and research, and support producers to make science-based decisions to improve swine health.

Dr. Corzo’s appointment brings a unique and diverse level  of experience to the Morrison Swine Health Monitoring Project. His producer and veterinarian focused approach will help achieve Dr. Bob Morrison’s vision for the project to deliver short term value to producers while strengthening the long term disease preparedness of the swine industry.

Click here to learn more about Dr. Corzo.

Science Page: Use of processing fluids for PRRSV diagnostics

This is our Friday rubric: every week a new Science Page from the Bob Morrison’s Swine Health Monitoring Project. The previous editions of the science page are available on our website.

Key points

  • Using processing fluids as a diagnostic tool can help us to detect lower PRRS prevalence in the herd.
  • Testicles and tails should be collected in a pail as they are potential spreaders of PRRS in the farrowing room.
  • We should target young parity sows for PRRSV sampling.

Processing fluids PRRS table.gif

What are processing fluids?

In sow farms, piglets get processed during the first week of life. This means that their tails is docked and the males are castrated. The farmer usually collect tails and testicles in a pail to be discarded at a later time.

We propose to use the fluids accumulating at the bottom of the pail to assess the farm PRRSV status.

How did we test those fluids?

The fluids were tested for PRRSV by PCR and the results were compared to the gold standard for this diagnostic: PCR on serum. Sampling was set in a farm that just went through a PRRSV outbreak and 10 litters from various parity sows were selected each week for 8 weeks.

What were the results?

Processing fluids were efficient in detecting PRRSV even if there was only one piglet positive in the litter (determined with the serum samples). Compared to the serum tests, there were 4 false negative samples that were explained by the fact that the virus load in the piglets serums was low and the dilution effect of the processing fluids caused the samples to get negative results. We also found 4 false positive resutls that could be due to cross-contamination of the samples despite the extreme care with which the samples were handled.

Are processing fluids a worthwhile sample?

The agreement between processing fluids and serum results was good and the sensitivity and specificity of the technique was respectively of 83% and 92%. Additionally, this technique requires no further handling of the piglets or use of extra supplies to collect samples and submit them to the laboratory.