Swine Global Surveillance Project Issues First Reports

cahfs_primary_graphicThe University of Minnesota Swine Group and the Center for Animal Health and Food Safety (CAHFS) have partnered with the Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) to develop and implement a system for near real time global surveillance of swine diseases. The output of the system is the identification of hazards that are subsequently scored using a step-wise procedure of screening, to identify increments in hazards that, potentially, may represent a risk for the US.

The first version of the system is now live, with the first three reports available, including data from November 5, 2017 to January 14, 2018.

Beginning in early March the tool will be available for spontaneous reporting by stakeholders, such as producers and practitioners both overseas and in the United States. During the first year of the project, the system will be developed and beta-tested for USDA-classified tier 1 reportable foreign animal swine diseases (ASF, CSF, FMD), but in the future more diseases will be tracked.

“As we have learned in recent years, we need to pay attention to external health threats as part of our overall risk management. Keeping tabs on global trends is a prudent investment,” said Dr. Jerry Torrison, Director of the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.

From the most recent report, December 18, 2017 – January 14, 2018:

The current concern continues to focus on African swine fever in Poland and surrounding countries. Infected wild boars continue to be identified in the vicinity surrounding Warsaw, and the possibility of spread of the disease to the pig intensive area of eastern Poland continues to be a concern. Countries in the region are using a combination of increased hunting of wild boar along with boar proof fencing along borders to attempt to control the spread of the disease.

Visit z.umn.edu/SwineGlobalSurveillance to access the reports, and coming soon, to use the tool to provide spontaneous reporting.

AGREETT funding creates a renaissance in agricultural programs at the University of Minnesota

In 2015, the Minnesota State Legislature created the Agricultural Research, Education, Extension, and Technology Transfer program (AGREETT). Funding was established by the Department of Agriculture to support scientists and educators, increase the next generation of agricultural innovation and enhance Minnesota’s agricultural economy.

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In 2017, several AGREETT experts  were hired:

  • Matthew Aliota, Assistant Professor, Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences – Aliota is expected to arrive in February 2018 and will collaborate on interdisciplinary research connecting insect-borne disease to animal health.
  • Erin Cortus, Assistant Professor and Extension Engineer, Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering – Cortus’s research interests are the measurement and estimation of farm-level gas emissions and the related impacts on animals, workers and surrounding community.
  • Diane DeWitte, Extension Educator – Swine. DeWitte provides quality assurance certifications and biosecurity education to swine producers and youth exhibitors, collaborates on swine barn environmental research, and assists with research conducted at the University’s swine farms at Waseca and Morris.
  • Andres Gomez, Assistant Professor, Department of Animal Science – Gomez is engaged in studying the factors that shape the composition and function of the microbiome associated to animals and humans.
  • Jared Goplen, Extension Educator – Crops. Goplen focuses primarily in the areas of forage and small grain production and is based at the Morris Regional Extension Office.
  • Joleen Hadrich, Associate Professor and Extension Specialist, Department of Applied Economics – Hadrich’s research focuses on agricultural finance and production economics with an emphasis on farm-level profitability.
  • Annalisa Hultberg, Extension Educator, Food Safety – Hultberg’s focus is on-farm food safety education, outreach and research related to Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs), with fruit and vegetable producers.
  • Yuxin Miao, Associate Professor, Department of Soil, Water and Climate – Miao’s research focuses on precision nitrogen management, especially using proximal, UAV-and satellite-based remote sensing technologies to improve crop nitrogen management in different scales of farming systems, and developing integrated precision crop management systems for high crop yield and resource use efficiencies and protection of the environment.
  • Noelle Noyes, Assistant Professor and Extension Educator, Department of Veterinary, Population Medicine – Noyes arrives in May 2018 and will develop practical and effective models for improving preharvest food safety from production through processing by strengthening partnerships between industry, government and the University.
  • Kim VanderWaal, Assistant Professor and Extension Educator, Department of Veterinary Population Medicine – VanderWaal uses large data sets to better understand antibiotic resistance, food safety and pathogen movements within large agricultural production systems.
  • Megan Webb, Assistant Professor and Extension Educator, Department of Animal Science – Webb will develop collaborative research and Extension programs focused on sustaining productivity growth in the beef industry and engaging with producers and industry to grow this vital part of Minnesota’s economy.
  • Melissa Wilson, Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist, Department of Soil, Water, and Climate – Wilson’s research and Extension programs are in manure management and water quality.

In addition to the personnel described above, AGREETT invested $4.2 million in upgrades and improvements in infrastructure to support our research.

  • University of Minnesota Soil Testing Lab
  • Image Technology for Rapid Detection of Crop Pests and Diseases
  • Forest Research Capacity – Cloquet, Minn.
  • Animal Health and Food Safety Analysis Equipment: “Food Centric Corridor
  • Rapid Agricultural Response Project
  • Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Research

Read more

Science Page: Investigating the role of the environment and the lactating sow in PRRSV infections during an outbreak (Part 1)

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, Dr. Carles Vilalta and Dr. Juan Sanhueza in collaboration with Dr. Montse Torremorell discuss the sensitivity and specificity of sampling the farrowing environment and lactating sows at processing to detect PRRSV in an infected farm.

Key Points:

  • Lactating sows and the farrowing environment can be sources of PRRS virus
  • Sampling the farrowing environment and the udder skin of lactating sows can be used to monitor for PRRSV although the sensitivity is lower than that of serum samples.
  • The farrowing environment and the lactating sow may serve as a source of infection for PRRSV.

Sampling started 2 weeks after a PRRSV outbreak was reported in a sow farm. Sampling was conducted from 10 litters every 3 weeks for a total of 24 weeks. Samples were collected at processing (~ 3 days of age) and included: surface wipes of farrowing crates, surface wipes of the udder skin of lactating sows, blood samples from all piglets within the selected litters.

PRRS sampling in the environment and on the sows.gif
Scatter plot of the individual RT-PCR Ct values in serum (all piglets) compared with those from surfaces (A) and udder skin (B).

PRRSV was detected in the farrowing crate environment and on the skin of the lactating sow at processing. The surface and udder skin wipes were less sensitive at detecting PRRSV than serum PCR at processing. However, in this study all pigs in the litter were bled which is not the standard practice in the field.

The results show that the environment and the lactating sow may serve as a source of
infection for PRRSV, indicating a need to further understand their roles to establish herd level stability.

Controlling Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae infections in the field

Controlling Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae in the field can be challenging. After summarizing the best sample types and diagnostic methods to detect mycoplasma infections early, Dr. Maria Pieters wrote an article for pig333 recapitulating the existing options for a producer struggling with enzootic pneumonia on her farm.

No single strategy will confer total protection. A well-orchestrated combination of various methods adjusted to a single production unit or system will be needed.

Indeed, Dr. Pieters reminds us that 3 different approaches can be combined to achieve greater disease control:

overall-mycoplasma-hyopneumoniae-control-is-effectively-achieved-when-combining-various-strategies_126971.jpgNo single strategy will confer total protection from infection with M. hyopneumoniae or disease elimination. However, a well-orchestrated combination of various methods, not only directed at clinical signs, but to the root of disease spread and transmission, adjusted to the unique characteristics of a production unit or system, is necessary to reach the goal of controlling M. hyopneumoniae infections and improving overall swine production around the world.

The entire article on Controlling Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae in the field is available on the pig333 website.

Sample types and diagnostic methods for early detection of Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae

In lieu of the Science Page today, we are bringing you our most popular articles on the blog this past year: a publication by Dr. Maria Pieters, head of the MycoLab called Sample and diagnostic types for early detection of Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae.

Summary:

Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae is the causative agent enzootic pneumonia, an economically significant disease in pigs. In this study published by Drs. Pieters and Rovira from the University of Minnesota, pigs experimentally inoculated with M.hyopneumoniae were sampled 0, 2, 5, 9, 14, 21, and 28 post-inoculation.

Different sample types were compared:

  • Nasal swabs
  • Laryngeal swabs
  • Tracheobronchal lavages
  • Oral fluids
  • Serum samples

Using different diagnostic tests:

  • PCR
  • ELISA IgG anti M.hyopneumoniae
  • ELISA Ig M anti M.hyopneumoniae
  • ELISA C-reactive protein

Laryngeal swab samples tested by PCR were highly sensitive for detection of Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae in live pigs. Various commercial ELISA kits for detection of Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae antibodies showed similar sensitivity. Oral fluids showed a low sensitivity for detection of Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae in experimentally infected pigs.

Link to the full-article