Science Page: Quarterly review of MSHMP reported PRRSv Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (RFLP) patterns

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 report from the MSHMP team regarding reported PRRS RFLP patterns.

Keypoints:

  •  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).

RFLP patterns with status at break

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.

Porcine Circovirus 3: a new episode from At the meeting with… podcast

microphone-2618102_1920Podcasts are a perfect way to get caught up with new swine information! We are presenting you the latest episode from “At The Meeting… Honoring Dr. Bob Morrison” in collaboration with SwineCast.

In this episode of At the Meeting honoring Dr. Bob Morrison, we share a conversation on porcine circovirus 3, or PCV3.

Dr. Montse Torremorell joins Dr. Tom Wetzel and Dr. Gordon Spronk with special guest Dr. Darin Madson, Iowa State University, to talk about porcine circovirus 3 and how it is both similar to, and different from PCV2.

Dr. Madson and the show’s cohosts discuss clinical signs associated with PCV3, including myocarditis, respiratory issues, and reproductive problems, as well as how current research is focused on better understanding the virus, its history, and whether any current PCV vaccines could offer some form of cross-protection.

Listen to the entire episode (17 minutes)

Science Page: Basic Steps for Foreign Animal Disease Preparedness

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 one-page step-by-step reference document for foreign animal disease preparedness, created by the MSHMP team.

Key Points

  • The current African Swine Fever situation in China and Europe makes Foreign Animal Disease preparedness even more crucial.
  • There are steps that can be taken to prepare a site for a Foreign Animal Disease and to improve the probability of continued animal movement.
  • Many producers are already doing these steps in some form and taking the practices to the level of documentation can add benefits when dealing with other diseases such as PRRS and PED.

As African Swine Fever (ASF) has been moving rapidly through China and Europe, the possibility of a Foreign Animal Disease (FAD) event in the United States becomes more of a possibility. In the event of an FAD, state and federal animal health officials will limit movement of animals and animal products to limit disease spread.

Movement permit requirements are decided by regulatory officials from each state’s animal health department, but there are steps producers can take to help them mitigate chances of infection and to increase their likelihood of receiving a movement permit during an FAD. These steps are also outlined on the Secure Pork Supply (SPS) plan website. SPS is a collaboration between USDA APHIS, Pork Checkoff, Iowa State University, and the University of Minnesota.

Basic Steps:

Establishing location and site information:

A site must have a Premises ID Number (PIN) in order to move pigs or pig products. A PIN includes the 911 address and latitude and longitude coordinates of the actual location of the pigs. Having this information allows state and federal animal health officials to determine if a site is within control or quarantine zones based on its location to infected sites. The PIN is also imperative for allowing accurate tracking of pig and supply movement into the farm and identifying any connection to infected sites. It is important to validate that the location information points to the swine location and not an alternative house or building. Additionally, it is good to have information on farm contact such as manager and owner phone numbers and emails, number of animals, and if any other species are present on site.

Proof of biosecurity measures:

secure pork supplyBeing able to demonstrate the biosecurity measures of a production site will greatly improve permitting chances because good biosecurity helps ensure lower infection risk. The SPS supplies a biosecurity self-assessment checklist (http://www.securepork.org/Resources/SPS_Biosecurity_Self-Assessment_Checklist-_-IndoorProduction.pdf) covering the areas that should be included in a biosecurity plan. These areas are staff training, vehicles and equipment, personnel, wildlife and insects, manure management, carcass disposal, animal and semen movement, feed, and establishing protection of the pig herd such as a line of separation, perimeter buffer, disinfection station, and access points, including a map of the site. Being able to track movements in and out of the farm as well as between production sites is highly beneficial. A biosecurity manager should be appointed to write and manage the biosecurity plan.

Disease Monitoring and Epidemiological Information

In the event of an FAD, producers will be asked to provide epidemiological information and confirmation based on monitoring that there is no evidence of infection. Much of the epidemiological information that may be requested overlaps with the SPS biosecurity plan outline, such as knowing movement of equipment, incoming animals, products, and feed, and inter-site movement of personnel. Regular recorded monitoring of the animals allows a producer to provide confirmation that no clinical signs of an FAD have been observed. To make this effective, staff performing the monitoring must know how to identify the diseases and records must be consistent. Additionally, samplescan be stored and used to prove that the herd has been and remains negative. The SPS provides resources in both Spanish and English detailing disease identification for FAD’s, an example questionnaire of epidemiological information that may be requested, and resources for disease monitoring and emergency response.These resources can be found at http://www.securepork.org/pork-producers/disease-monitoring/ and http://www.securepork.org/Resources/SecurePorkSupply-Questionnaire.pdf .

These steps can be labor intensive with no clear immediate return, particularly the development of a biosecurity plan and regular monitoring records. This understandably can make them a low priority as producers deal with many resource decisions and demands on a daily basis.In light of this, it is important to remember that having these steps prepared will be invaluable for maintaining animal movement and continuity of business in the case of an FAD. Many of the steps or questions being used in these tools, like awareness of movement into and out of the farm, regular monitoring for clinical signs, and good biosecurity measures are things producers often do already. These steps simply put them into finalized and recordable forms. The process can also benefit the farm by showing biosecurity gaps and improving monitoring practices and records that are relevant to diseases such as PRRS, PED, and influenza.

Find more info about SPS at: http://www.securepork.org/

The 2018 Allen D. Leman Swine Conference successfully continued its tradition of high-quality content while innovating

The 2018 edition of the Allen D. Leman swine conference held in St. Paul, MN continued to offer a wide range of high-quality, science-driven presentations while innovating on several aspects of its program.

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Megan Bloemer (right) receives the Morrison Swine Innovator Prize from Dr. Perle Boyer (left)

This year marked the second year of the DVM student session at the Leman conference but the first time that a student received the Morrison Swine Innovator Prize. Megan Bloemer, a student from the University of Illinois was truly honored to be the first recipient of this prestigious recognition. Megan received a $7,500 scholarship in addition to participating in an exclusive workshop with the other DVM students-presenters. The quality of the students’ presentations was excellent but the practicality and the innovation with which Megan treated the issue of truck wash biosecurity put her at the top.

Sunday afternoon, the new Beer and Bacon conversation series was launched. The session, during which Dr. Matthew Turner was interviewed by Dr. Marie Culhane, was extremely popular. Seating was limited so do not forget to register early if you would like to attend next year!

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Dr Rebecca Robbins (left), Science in Practice awardee and Dr. Montse Torremorell (right)

We celebrated Dr. Rebecca Robbins for her well-deserved recognition as the Science  in Practice awardee of the year. The reception held in the Science museum in St Paul was sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim.

 

The spread of African Swine Fever in China and Western Europe prompted us to dedicate two very well-attended sessions on this topic. The first session on Monday afternoon coordinated by Dr. John Deen included a summary of what is known about the disease by Dr. Chris Oura, then a clinical case experienced in Russia by Dr. Gustavo Lopez and a presentation by Patrick Webb on ASF awareness in the industry and beyond. On Tuesday, Dr. Scott Dee presented his latest research on the risk from feed ingredients for the transmission of ASF.

For more information, the University of Minnesota launched two webpages:

The 2018 Allen D. Leman conference continued to propose high quality keynote speakers.
Dr. Brad Freking and Dr. Deb Murray from New Fashion Pork gave the first Morrison lecture and presented their vision of pig farming. They explained how they chose to decrease their antimicrobial usage while reserving the right to treat pigs when needed and why they launched Old Fashion Pork.

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Dr. Maria Pieters presenting

Dr. Maria Pieters reminded us of the issues associated with having a Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae  positive herd and challenged the swine industry to eradicate the diseases that can be eradicated so that we can focus on diseases that are harder to control.

Becca Martin and Randy Spronk gave an update on trade in pigs and the current challenges that we are facing as an exporting nation. Free trade seems to be the best option for our producers in order to maintain the market.

Dr. Michael Rahe presented the Pijoan lecture on behalf of Dr. Michael Murtaugh giving us a overview of the past 30 years dealing with PRRS. Sadly, Dr. Murtaugh passed away that very same day, from his battle with cancer.

As always, we would like to thank all of you for your continuing support. The Allen D. Leman swine conference would not exist without you and we hope to see you next year: September 14-17, 2019.

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Science Page: African swine fever experience in a large commercial system in the Russian Federation

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 the experience Dr. Gustavo Lopez, a PhD candidate at the University of Minnesota, had dealing with African Swine Fever in Russia.

Key points:

  • Infected pigs can be asymptomatic carriers of African swine fever virus (ASFv)
  • Timely detection with diagnostic testing, strict biosecurity measures and rapid removal of the source of infection are key to limit the transmission of the virus within and between sites.

In December 2014, ASFv was detected in a finishing site of a multiplier herd from a large commercial pig company located in the Russian Federation. The region had multiple reports of ASFv in backyard pigs before the outbreak. The affected company consisted of 80,000 sows in 15 farms organized as a three-site production system with each sow farm having a dedicated nursery and two finishers. The multiplier herd supplied gilts from the finisher to the gilt development unit (GDUs) for each farm. Each sow farm had a quarantine within the farm to receive the gilts from the GDU .

A 3% mortality increase was reported in one room of the finishing site. A few pens in one of the rooms had pigs affected with fever, purple ear and mild scouring. The site was being monitored for ASFv on a weekly basis before gilt shipment, following local regulations and results always came back negative.

Samples collected from the affected pigs were negative for ASFv, Classical Swine Fever, PRRSv, and Salmonella so the decision was made to resume shipment of gilts from a room with no clinical signs to the GDU.

As the days progressed, the clinical signs in the affected room worsened and affected more pens. The GDU that had just received gilts reported similar clinical signs and diagnostics on samples collected then from the multiplier finisher and the GDU confirmed the presence of ASFv at both sites.

At that time, all pig movements were stopped and a 5km quarantine area was imposed around the two affected sites. Gilts that had been sent from the GDU to five commercial sow farms, and were in quarantine tested negative to ASFv. Nevertheless as a precaution, the decision was taken to sacrifice all the gilts in the quarantines.

Protocols mandated by the government were implemented in the ASFv positive multiplier finisher and GDU which consisted of euthanasia of all pigs within a 5km radius, destruction with burial and burning of all carcasses, strict movement restrictions for vehicles and people and exhaustive disinfection protocols inside the farm and its territory.

Transportation of infected non-symptomatic animals from the multiplier finisher was the most likely route of infection to the GDU. The source of infection to the multiplier finisher is unknown, although people are thought to have played a role given the presence of ASFv in backyard farms in the area. Events such as introduction of infected pork meat, lack of proper disinfection of 3rd party trucks or non-compliance with the shower-in policy of the farm could not be ruled out. The outbreak occurred in December when temperatures were below zero Celsius and wild pig-tick-domestic pig interaction was unlikely.

It is important to point out that 12 of the 16 rooms in the multiplier finisher remained negative to ASFv until the moment of euthanasia. The sow farm and nursery multiplier were monitored for ASFv during the quarantine period and until the moment of euthanasia 6 months later. During this time, they remained negative to ASFv, even though they were within close proximity to the affected farm. Our experience indicates that a timely detection of ASFv with testing, strict biosecurity measures and removal of the source of infection as soon as possible can limit the transmission of the virus between sites.

 

Funeral Information for Dr. Michael Murtaugh

Michael Murtaugh
Dr. Mike Murtaugh

Professor Michael Murtaugh, PhD, passed away last Tuesday from complications related to his ongoing battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 67. A memorial service will be held Saturday, September 29 at 11 a.m. at Calvary Church in Roseville. Visitation is from 9 to 11 a.m. at the church.

Mike joined the college in 1985 and spent his University of Minnesota career in the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences. He was a consummate faculty member, excelling in teaching 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. 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 a PI or co-PI.

He was an international leader in battling the porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSv) that costs U.S. swine producers alone nearly $500 million annually. Mike used molecular biology to first understand the PRRSv pathogen and immunology to evaluate the pig’s immune response. His lasting legacy is a generation of scientifically-trained swine health specialists.

Mike earned his BS in biology at the University of Notre Dame and then served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Venezuela. He earned a PhD in entomology at The Ohio State University. The University of Texas Medical School in Houston was his next stop—spending four years in a post-doctoral position in the departments of internal medicine and pharmacology—before arriving in St. Paul.

He will be remembered for his dry sense of humor, a character trait 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 collegiate strategic plan and the International Conference on One Medicine and One Science. 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.

Dean Trevor Ames
College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Minnesota

Science Page: Within farm PRRS time-to-stability differences in sow farms in the Midwest

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 report by the MSHMP team regarding PRRS time-to-stability differences in sow farms.

Keypoints:

  • There is significant within farm PRRS time-to-stability variation.
  • Several factors contribute to PRRS time-to-stability variability; however, there is still a significant amount of unexplained variability.
  • The role of within farm management practices and internal biosecurity measures should be further explored.

Introduction

Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) stability is reached when no evidence of infection is observed in wean-age piglets. Sample size to detect PRRS virus in wean-age piglets usually involves blood sampling of 30 piglets, at least four times, 30 days apart (Holtkamp et al., 2011). The cumulative time from the intervention (i.e. whole herd exposure, herd closure) to PRRS stability is usually referred to as time-to-stability (TTS).

Here we summarize differences in TTS in MSHMP participating farms located in the Midwest that have had at least two PRRS outbreaks.

Methods

Six systems that are similar in the way they test to classify a herd as stable were selected for inclusion in the study. PRRS outbreaks reported from 2011 to 2017 were used for analysis.

TTS was defined as the time period from the date of outbreak reporting to the date when PRRS stability was reported (last consecutive negative PCR result). To assess the variability in TTS, only farms that had at least two PRRS outbreaks were selected.

Results

Overall, 133 PRRS outbreaks in 53 farms were recorded withtwo, three, four and five outbreaks in 35, 11, 5, 2 farms, respectively. The median TTS standard deviation of PRRS outbreaks within the same farm was 12 weeks (minimum = 0 weeks, maximum=88 weeks).

After accounting for the effect of the intervention using MLV or FVI, the RFLP pattern of the virus associated with the outbreak and previous PRRS outbreaks in the farm, the PRRS time-to-stability correlation of outbreaks in the same farm and system was only 1.2%.

In other words, TTS of two given outbreaks in the same farm were not correlated indicating that TTS within farm is highly variable.

Conclusion

There is a high TTS variability after a PRRS outbreak within the same farm that is not accounted for by the effect of the intervention used, the virus (i.e RFLP), previous PRRS outbreaks in the farm and system.