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.
The MSHMP team would like to announce changes that will be coming to the weekly report in July, 2019 as we start a new monitoring year. Since mid 2017 we have been working towards switching the MSHMP database and report out of Excel and into a structured query language (SQL) database, with the report created using the programs R and LateX. We will officially make the transition starting July fifth and are excited to introduce you to some of the changes you will be seeing in the upgraded version of the MSHMP report.
The decision to transition into an SQL database and create the report with R and LateX was made primarily for 3 reasons: 1) Storage and query capabilities, 2) Reliability and 3) Automatization of the report generation process. Altogether this will improve the quality and speed of data management to continue to enable the project to grow in a constant manner.
The general contents and layout of the report will remain unaltered. The main change in the report is its overall appearance as the style, detail information and legends have been altered. The SVV chart show now only data from veterinary diagnostic laboratories. PRRSv Chart 3, incidence by Status, has been replaced by a new chart, PRRS Incidence Rate, to better reflect the status frequency of breaks.
The top paragraphs of the PRRSv and PEDv pages have been updated to more clearly reflect how systems are included in charts. We also show the amount of systems reporting each disease for the week out of the total number of systems, rather than out of the total included in a particular chart.
As a team we are very excited to launch our new more reliable and efficient database system and weekly report. We know it will enable our work to continue growing and improving, providing more value to the swine industry and associated communities. As a group we particularly want to acknowledge Post-Doc Juan Sanhueza and our IT Director Paulo Fioravante, the primary architects of the new system, and thank them for the immense amount of work they have done to make this possible.
Recording PRRSv RFLP and sequences will provide better insights into the epidemiology of the disease at local, state and national level.
Building a RFLP database will allow us to assess which factors could be involved or related with the emergence of a new RFLP.
The predominant pattern RFLP in this quarterly review is the 1-7-4.
In the first quarter of the 2018/2019 incidence year, 20 breaks affecting 12 production systems were reported. Out of these, 4 occurred in July, 13 in August and 3 in September.
Of those 20 farms, three had a break while still being status 1, one was status 2 in the process of eliminating the disease (not using any immunization protocol at that point), 6 were using field virus as the acclimatization protocol (2fvi), 8 were using vaccine (2vx), one was provisionally negative (status 3) and one broke from a status 4 after being almost 4 years completely negative (see figure below).
The distribution of the breaks is wide and affects different states. Thus, we had 6, 1, 4, 1, 4, 2, 1 and 1 break in the states of IA, IN, MN, MO, NC, NE, OK and PA, respectively. The closest 2 farms that broke were 1.2 miles apart, belonged to the same company and had the break a week from each other (no sequences was provided).
Eight out of the 20 breaks reported were accompanied by the associated RFLP. The predominant (4 out of 8) RFLP pattern since July is 1-7-4. Iowa was the state with the highest number of 1-7-4 cases.
Professor Michael Murtaugh, PhD, passed away Tuesday September 18 from complications of pancreatic cancer. He was 67.
Mike joined the college in 1985 and spent the entirety of his University of Minnesota career in the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences. He was a consummate faculty member, excelling in teaching graduate courses and conducting research and
outreach. Mike authored more than 225 peer-reviewed journal articles, was the primary advisor for 30 Master’s and PhD students, and held three U.S. patents. His influence extended throughout the Academic Health Center at the University and throughout the world. At the time of his death, Mike was serving on the editorial boards of more than a dozen academic journals, and had successfully completed nearly 160 sponsored projects as Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator.
Mike was a respected and highly sought after mentor. He always had people coming and going from his office asking for scientific, career, and personal advice. His door was always open and he always stopped what he was doing to help others. He touched many
lives during his career. Besides his numerous graduate student advisees, he also mentored over fifteen veterinary students, thirty-six undergraduate and high school students, twelve post-doctoral researchers, twenty visiting scientists, and numerous others who came to him for advice and support. He cared about everyone not only scientifically, but also personally. He always wanted to do what was in a student’s best interests, even though it may not have been what was in his best interest. His lasting legacy is in the scientific training and education of a generation of swine health specialists and researchers.
Prof. Murtaugh was an international leader in swine immunology, and devoted considerable effort over the past 25 years in battling the Porcine
Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome virus (PRRSv), a disease that
costs U.S. swine producers alone some $500 million annually. Mike used
molecular biological approaches to first understand the nature of PRRSv
and investigated in detail the immunological response of pigs to this pathogen.
Mike earned the B.S. degree in biology at the University of Notre Dame and
then served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Venezuela. He earned a Ph.D. in entomology at the Ohio State University. The University of Texas Medical School in Houston was his next stop— he spent four years in a post-doctoral position in the Departments of Internal Medicine and Pharmacology— before assuming a faculty position in St. Paul.
He will be remembered for his dry sense of humor and positive outlook on life, character traits that he maintained even as his battle with cancer raged. Mike cared passionately about science and derived some of his greatest personal satisfaction working on the college’s Strategic Plan and the International Conference on One Medicine and One Science (iCOMOS). Mike cared deeply about science informing policy and saw the need for scientists to be more actively involved in communicating about their research.
I am grateful to have known him, and stand in awe of the many contributions he made to our college.
Further research is needed in all areas of the virus in order to better understand, treat, and prevent Astrovirus.
Astrovirus is a public health concern in humans as it is implicated in foodborne illnesses and has zoonotic potential.
Porcine Astrovirus may play a role in enteric disease, and has been associated with neurological disease.
Porcine Astrovirus (PoAstV) is a nonenveloped RNA virus with 5 different strains present in U.S herds. It has been detected in both healthy and diseased pigs, so more research is needed to determine the clinical implications of a PoAstV infection. Recently a U.S swine production system reported PoAstV-associated neurological disease. In the sow farm 100% of pigs affected with disease died, while in the growing-finishing farms case-mortality rate was 75%. Signs exhibited by affected animals included paralysis, ataxia, paresis, and knuckling, which eventually progressed into lateral recumbency.
Scientific publications relating to Porcine Astrovirus are rare. The majority of information, however, supports fecal-oral as the main route of transmission. Some reports have shown PoAstV to retain infectivity in ground water for extended periods of time and can survive up to 3 hours in water with a p.H of 4.0. There is currently no vaccine available for this disease. The large antigenic diversity and high mutation rate are the biggest challenge for vaccine development. Diagnosis is typically made via PCR.
The major concern with Astrovirus is the zoonotic potential. Human Astrovirus is easily transmitted through contaminated food and water and causes moderate gastroenteritis in infants. Human-to-pig transmission is suspected due to the detection of human-porcine recombinant viruses. Pig-to-human zoonosis has not been reported, but Astroviruses can rapidly mutate, so it may be only a matter of time before a zoonotic strain emerges.
Further research into pathogenesis and vaccine development is crucial to prepare for a possible zoonotic outbreak.