This month in the National Hog Farmer, Drs. Carles Vilalta, Juan Sanhueza, and Montse Torremorell share a project instigated by the late Dr. Bob Morrison regarding the use of processing fluids to make a PRRSV diagnosis.
The improvement of sampling and diagnostics techniques has made sampling on the farm an easier task with the use of pooled serums or oral fluids samples for example.
One of the ways to get cheaper, more sensitive and quicker techniques would be to use routine chores, such as piglet processing, since castration and tail docking are part of the regular procedures in sow farms.
The goal of this study was to evaluate the accuracy of the processing fluids (the liquid accumulated at the bottom of the pail when farmers collect tails and testicles during routine procedures) by real-time polymerase chain reaction to assess PRRSV status in a sow herd.
The key points from the studies were:
• 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.
Each year approximately 3% of the sow farms have a PRRS outbreak during the summer.
The incidence of summer PRRS breaks has been constant over the last 9 years.
There are geographical areas with higher or lower risk of summer breaks.
A summer outbreak was defined as a PRRS case that happened between June 21st and September 21st of the year. The mean incidence of PRRS summer outbreaks was 3.2% between 2009 and 2017, ranging between 1.6% and 4.4%. The trend was stable among the years. (Figure 1) Not all areas are equal against summer outbreaks. Indeed, the region of Southern Minnesota – Northern Iowa is more at risk of outbreaks than others like Southern Iowa or Eastern North Carolina. (Figure 2)
Biosecurity measures against PRRSV should therefore be a concern all year round for swine producers!
The first week-end in December is usually the time of the North American PRRS symposium. This year did not upset the tradition but this time, the conference was in collaboration with the National Swine Improvement Federation.
The meeting was dedicated to our friend and colleague Dr. Bob Morrison. A memorial fellowship organized by Dr. Montse Torremorell (U of MN) and Dr. Joan Lunney (USDA) provided travel support to future scientists who wish to follow in his footsteps.
Stephen Gerike from the Pork Checkoff shared information on the state of pork products used in restaurant. Bacon represents 20% of products used but is still growing (+4% since last year).
Stephen Gerike shared the updated cooking recommendations for pork product.
Overall, 82% of restaurant customers eat the same or larger amount of pork which is a good trend for the industry. Mr. Gerike also shared the efforts done by Pork Checkoff to convince consumers to not overcook their pork. Reminder: 145F is safe. “Cook your pork like you cook your steak!”
The University of Minnesota was well represented during the conference. Dr. Montse Torremorell moderated the Saturday morning session on PRRS in the field. Drs. Cesar Corzo, Carles Vilalta and Juan Sanhueza shared the updates on the Morrison Swine Health Monitoring Program as well as regarding the studies that they are involved with. Take away messages:
MSHMP is now collecting information from 50% of the sows in the United States.
Based on this data, 58% of the farms breaking with PRRSV today will break again within a year.
PRRS summer outbreaks happen and vary based on location (see figure below).
Farms take a longer time to reach stability after a summer outbreak (median 41.5 weeks)
Processing fluids can be used as a monitoring method for PRRS.
After being introduced in 1999, PRRS was eradicated from the country in 2012.
In 2013 PRRS was again detected, sequence analysis suggested this was a new introduction to the country.
The Chilean swine industry and the Chilean Veterinary Services (SAG) expect to again eliminate the disease in the near future.
PRRS is a notifiable disease in Chile. It was first detected in 1999, and in 2000 both the swine industry and government joined efforts to eradicate the disease by a series of coordinated events including a mixture of herd closure and depopulation of infected premises. Vaccination was not allowed in the country to control PRRSV infection. The eradication program was completed in 2007 and as a result, Chile was declared PRRSV free in 2012. Nevertheless, on October 2013 clinical signs compatible with PRRSV were reported in a commercial sow farm. Since then, all commercial herds performed surveillance activities according to a risk score based on location and biosecurity measures. From October 2013 to October 2017, approximately 153,000 blood samples have been analyzed.
Viral sequences obtained during the 2013 outbreak were compared to sequences from the early 2000s outbreak in Chile. Results showed a large genetic difference between isolates from both outbreaks. Further analyses demonstrated that the Chilean virus was closely related to a virus circulating in the state of Indiana in the US at the time of introduction. These results suggested that the latest PRRSV outbreak in Chile was most likely due to a new introduction into the country rather than a reemergence of a strain previously detected in Chile.
By October 2017, the disease was restricted to approximately 45,000 animals in six commercial farms owned by two companies that currently have eradication programs in place. These six infected commercial sites are clustered in three areas. (See figure above)
Today, we are sharing a publication from the Preventive Veterinary Medicine journal, by Dr. Andres Perez and the STEMMA laboratory. The goal of the study was to quantify the combined effect of factors such as season and herd size on the spatial range of high-risk areas for PRRSV outbreaks. Using Species Distribution Model, the team extracted associations between hypothesized risk factors and disease occurrence.
A species distribution model was used, to predict the spatial risk of PRRSv in swine populations across the U.S.
All of the Maxent spatial models identified high-risk areas, with probabilities greater than 0.5.
Relative contribution of pig density to PRRSv risk was higher in densely pig populated areas.
Relative contribution of climate and land cover to PRRSv risk were important in areas with relative low pig densities.
Ecological dynamics of PRRSv are different between swine production region in the U.S.
The largest number of PRRSv outbreaks in the U.S., as reported in the MSHMP, was observed in north central parts of Iowa, followed by south central areas of Minnesota. However, our crude U.S. Maxent model identified eastern North Carolina, southern Minnesota, and northern Iowa as high-risk areas for PRRSv outbreaks. As expected, pig density accounted for most of the PRRSv spatial risk (81.3% relative contribution). Climate (interpreted as the percentage of day-to-night temperature oscillation compared with the summer-to-winter oscillation, and mean temperature of the warmest quarter) accounted for the remaining spatial risk. Overall, the crude Maxent model suggested geographical areas with high pig densities and with a low level of daily temperature variability to the year are mostly suitable for circulation and maintenance of PRRSv.
The model for the South East region indicated that pig density was the most important predictor; followed by precipitation of the wettest month, land cover, and temperature seasonality. The relative contribution of pig density was smaller for this region compared to the Midwest. Specifically, geographical locations with high pig density, precipitation amount between 120 and 200 mm during the wettest months, and that were located within croplands were mostly suitable for PRRSv outbreaks in North Carolina and Northern South Carolina.
Additionally, the spread of PRRSV under certain conditions was more evident for the regions where pig density is relatively low. For example, in Illinois and Indiana and Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas, wet weather and temperatures above 0 °C were more important in predicting the spatial risk of PRRSv than pig density.
Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSv) outbreaks cause significant financial losses to the U.S. swine industry, where the pathogen is endemic. Seasonal increases in the number of outbreaks are typically observed using PRRSv epidemic curves. However, the nature and extent to which demographic and environmental factors influence the risk for PRRSv outbreaks in the country remains unclear. The objective of this study was to develop risk maps for PRRSv outbreaks across the United States (U.S.) and compare ecological dynamics of the disease in five of the most important swine production regions of the country. This study integrates spatial information regarding PRRSv surveillance with relevant demographic and environmental factors collected between 2009 and 2016. We used presence-only Maximum Entropy (Maxent), a species distribution modeling approach, to model the spatial risk of PRRSv in swine populations. Data fitted the selected model relatively well when the modeling approach was conducted by region (training and testing AUCs < 0.75). All of the Maxent models selected identified high-risk areas, with probabilities greater than 0.5. The relative contribution of pig density to PRRSv risk was highest in pig-densely populated areas (Minnesota, Iowa and North Carolina), whereas climate and land cover were important in areas with relatively low pig densities (Illinois, Indiana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Texas). Although many previous studies associated the risk of PRRSv with high pig density and climatic factors, the study here quantifies, for the first time in the peer-reviewed literature, the spatial variation and relative contribution of these factors across different swine production regions in the U.S. The results will help in the design and implement of early detection, prevention, and control strategies for one of the most devastating diseases affecting the swine industry in the U.S.